Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

One of the most frightening phrases for most parents is the ‘’termination of parental rights’’. The fear of losing a child might push some people to make amends and retain their rights to make decisions for their kids. Even so, courts do not routinely terminate parental rights. It is often the last resort since they are always looking for ways to keep a child close to both parents. Nonetheless, the termination of parental rights is perhaps among the strongest legal options to protect a child’s rights.

A family law firm in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for example, will be essential when you make the application to terminate parental rights. The lawyers will guide you through your state’s laws and help you consider your options based on the grounds you cite for the application. The grounds for granting the termination of parental rights will vary among states, though they are always in the child’s best interests. Here are the most common ones:

Child Abuse

If one parent is found to be abusive to a child, his or her rights might be terminated. He/she is nonetheless initially given a chance to get help for any issues that led to the abuse. The most common problems are substance abuse and mental health conditions. This way, there is a chance of saving the relationship with a child. If this fails, the courts will often terminate the offending parent’s rights. If, however, the abuse is too severe, they will terminate the rights immediately.

Child Abandonment

Mother hugging her daughter

Child abandonment does necessarily mean not seeing your child for some time though this is the most common form of neglect. In legal circles, it also constitutes the failure to stop meeting your child’s basic needs. The failure to meet the needs of the child should be one without a valid reason. Most spouses and single parents often cite this as the basis for petitioning the courts to terminate the rights of a non-custodial parent.

Crimes against the Other Parent

As times, a court might terminate parental rights if one parent is abusive towards the other. This is often in instances when the abuse is too much. To this end, the ideal option is to negate the interaction between the parents, such as happens when one comes to see the child. Before the termination, however, the courts might recommend supervised visitation of the at-fault parent.

Child Preference

At times, a parent leaves a child with a guardian for too long and does not maintain contact. The child might, in this instance, wish to permanently live with the guardian and have no relationship with a biological parent. The courts might, in this instance, consider the child’s wishes. Even so, this is rare and only used for older kids.

These grounds are mostly used for involuntary termination of parental rights cases. At times, however, a parent might voluntarily petition the courts to terminate his or her rights. In this instance, the courts will aim to ensure that this is in a child’s best interests, and the applicant is not just looking to avoid child support payments.

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