How To Terminate Parental Rights
I have received a lot of inquiries related to terminating parental rights recently. I believe it stems from the COVID-19 pandemic and the stay at home order. With schools being closed, I hear complaints of parents not making an effort to support their children or respect their visitation schedules. I also generally hear parents complain that their child’s other parent simply utilizes a more hands-off approach, therefore they’re curious about terminating that parent’s parental rights.
Let me begin by stating that terminating a parent’s rights is a very serious matter. So serious that the courts have referred to it as the “civil death penalty.” For this reason, the courts take extreme caution before granting a request to terminate parental rights. In order to terminate parental rights, the statute states that a petitioner must prove by clear and convincing evidence that termination is in the child’s best interest and that parent’s fault exists. Because parent’s rights are a constitutional right, before the court can terminate a person’s parental rights, a trial must be held if that parent is challenging the termination.
Reasons for terminating a parental rights might include:
- Abandonment of the child
- Neglect of the child
- The parent is unfit
- The child will be in danger of physical, emotional or mental harm if returned to that parent
- The parent has made minimal efforts to communicate or support the child
- If the child was removed by CPS and the parent has failed to correct the problems for the removal within a reasonable amount of time.
- At that time CPS can ask the judge to terminate that parent’s rights
- If sexual assault has been committed
- For example, if the child was conceived as a result of a sexual assault and the parent was convicted for sexual assault then it’s possible to terminate that parent’s rights.
If parental rights are terminated, the parent-child relationship will cease to legally exist. This means that the parent no longer gets to raise that child, has no right to visit or talk with that child, the parent no longer has to pay child support, the parent is removed from the child’s birth certificate, and the child can be adopted without that parent’s permission.
As you can see, there are a lot of prohibitions once a parental right has been terminated and that is why the courts take it very seriously. If you have questions about termination of parental rights, or any other Family Law matter, do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your options. To set up a meeting, reach us at (702) 998-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by scheduling a consultation online.