Termination of Parental Rights

You should be aware that parental rights can be voluntarily or involuntarily terminated. The rights that are terminated include the right to have a voice in the religion, education, or healthcare of the child, as well as the right to any visitation or custody. Following are the steps necessary to terminate a parents rights.

Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

If you wish to give up your parental rights, you will take the following steps:

First of all, find out about the laws in your state regarding the rights of a natural parent to give up their parental rights. You can find this information in the state code or on the state’s legal website. The laws will vary depending upon the state that the parent and child are living in.

You must have good cause to give up your parental rights. This means that you must have a valid reason for giving up the rights to your children. In most states, voluntary termination is acceptable in situations such as adoption. There are very few other things that are considered to be good reasons for giving up rights to a child. You may be able to find out what the courts in your state have considered as good cause in the past. Make sure that you keep yourself within those guidelines.

Write up a document that states that you consent to giving up your rights. Contact an attorney that specializes in family law to get some assistance in drafting this document, or visit the clerk at your local courthouse for the guidelines and preprinted documents.

Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

If you want to involuntarily terminate the rights of a parent, one or more of the following must occur:

Abandonment: Notify your local authorities of abandonment. If a person leaves a child and does not plan on coming back for them, then termination of parental rights can commence.

Failure to pay child support: if someone is not supporting their child, such as not providing food, clothing, and/or shelter for them, then parental rights can be terminated. Of course, this is an extreme situation and varies according to the state.

Unfit Parents: An unfit parent is one that can’t even take care of their own needs, much less a child. The parent could be involved in drug/alcohol abuse or even other illegal activities. Also in this situation is a parent that has severe mental disabilities that cause them to be unable to care for a child.

Child Abuse: if a child is being harmed by their parent, they will be removed from the home. The parent will then be given some time to rehabilitate themselves and an evaluation will be performed. If the parent keeps harming the child, the child will be permanently removed and the parental rights terminated.

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