Termination of Parental Rights
Parents have several basic rights and responsibilities in the parent-child relationship. For example, they have the right to freely make decisions regarding the child’s religion, health care, education, and several other important developmental concerns. However, if one or both parents are found to have violated the law, a court can take these parental rights away. Sometimes permanently.
What does this mean?
It means that the legal parent-child relationship no longer exists. The parent no longer has the right to raise his or her child. The parent does not even have the legal right to speak or visit with his or her child.
Once this relationship has been dissolved, the child is legally eligible for adoption with the mindful, long-term objective of securing the child a more sound and stable family environment that can provide for the child’s needs.
The termination of parental rights may be voluntary or involuntary, and either way, it is known by many as the “civil death penalty”. When it is completed the parent and child now have the legal relationship of strangers.
The most common reasons for involuntary termination of parental rights include: abandonment, severe or chronic abuse or neglect, sexual abuse, long-term mental illness or deficiency of the parent(s), long-term alcohol or drug-induced incapacity of the parent(s), as well as many other reasons. A parent may also lose their parental rights if they’ve been convicted of certain felonies or violent crimes.
A court may also terminate the parent/child relationship if the child has been in DCS foster care for a long period of time.
Deciding to terminate someone’s parental rights is a very serious matter. We highly suggest having a lawyer in place to help you with the complicated laws and procedures that must be followed. Please contact us for further information regarding these issues.
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