When you are the parent of a child you have certain “rights.” Examples of parental rights including the right to spend time with the child, make certain decisions regarding the child’s welfare, and who has access to the child. In most cases, parents have the right to exercise their parental rights as they see fit. However, in certain instances the courts must intervene to limit or even terminate a parent’s rights.
There are numerous situations in which a parent’s rights can be terminated by the courts, including:
- If a parent executes a written surrender of his or her parental rights, it typically is binding and cannot be withdrawn. The voluntary surrender of parental rights typically occurs when the child is being adopted by another party.
- If a parent has abandoned the child, his or her parental rights may be terminated. Abandonment can occur in various forms, but typically it must be shown that the parent has made no effort to establish a positive relationship with the child and/or the parent has failed to make a contribution toward providing for the needs of the child.
- A parent who threatens the welfare of a child can have his or her rights terminated. The threat can be to the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health.
- If a parent is incarcerated, a court may determine it is appropriate to terminate his or her parental rights.
- If the child has been adjudicated as dependent and the parent has failed to comply with the case plan, parental rights may be terminated.
- If a parent takes egregious action against a child (or even a sibling of the child) or fails to protect the child from such outrageous conduct, their rights can be terminated. Egregious conduct includes abandonment, abuse, neglect or any other deplorable conduct.
- If the parent has already had his or her rights to other children involuntarily removed, it can result in parental rights of other children in the home also being terminated.
If you have questions regarding your parental rights or how to have parental rights of your children terminated, we can help.