What Does Termination Of Parental Rights Mean In Arizona?
In Arizona, termination of parental rights means that the parent-child relationship is terminated or severed. While no one can ever stop someone from being a biological mother or father, if someone’s rights are severed, they have no legal custody, parenting rights, and reciprocal rights in the eyes of the law. In terms of reciprocal rights, the child’s rights to the parent are gone as well. Termination of parental rights makes the parent a stranger in the eyes of a child under the law. The rights of a parent are completely stripped when their parental rights are terminated.
Is Termination Of Parental Rights The Same Thing As Losing Custody Of Your Children In Arizona?
Termination of parental rights is not the same as losing custody or your children. When you lose custody of your children, you always have a chance to gain custody. You also still have some parental obligations. In regard to termination of parental rights, you become a stranger. You are no longer present. It is done.
Who Can Petition To Have Parental Rights Permanently Terminated?
In Arizona, anyone can petition the court to terminate parental rights if they have a legitimate interest in the child. A legitimate interest is the statement of the legislature. It’s what the actual law says. The law gives some examples. For instance, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles can have a legitimate interest in a child. Usually, people who have a legitimate interest in a child and who wish to terminate parental rights are people who are raising that child for some reason. I’ve had clients with no biological relationship move to terminate parental rights because they have been raising the child for two or three years. Often, the petitioners are grandparents or a parent who wants to sever the rights of an absentee parent. An absentee parent could be someone who hasn’t seen the child in years. The short answer, however, is that anyone with a legitimate interest in a child can file to terminate parental rights.
What Are The Grounds For Termination Of Parental Rights In Arizona?
In Arizona, there is an expansive list of grounds for termination of parental rights. Essentially, the grounds are just under a dozen. There is abandonment, which is the failure to maintain a normal parent child relationship. There is neglect or abuse. Neglect is broader. It would have to be analyzed on a case-by-case basis to see if there is neglect of a child that would rise to a level of severing parental rights. There is also the inability to discharge parental responsibilities. The inability to discharge parental responsibilities is by far the most common. It applies to mental illness, some type of deficiency, or an issue with drugs. Unfortunately, drugs is the most common of those three concerns. Moreover, when it comes to the inability to discharge parental responsibilities, there has to be a continued reasonable belief that illness, deficiency, or drug abuse will continue into the future.
If a parent is incarcerated or they have committed some type of crime, parental rights can be terminated. The crime is usually a dangerous offense against children or one that indicates that the parent is unfit to raise a child. If a parent-child relationship is disrupted due to incarceration and there is no way to maintain some semblance of a parent-child relationship, there could be a termination because of the length of time the parent is incarcerated.
Termination of parental rights can be severed if the parents agree to it. A termination of parental rights can also take place if rights were recently terminated for another child due to similar reasons. They are coming back into the system and there is no reason to take a lot of time on a similar issue. The Department of Child Safety almost exclusively can impose a termination of parental rights if they took care of a child for a long time. Termination of parental rights are not seen in private dependencies. However, if the Department of Child Safety is involved for 6 to 15 months, they can ask to terminate parental rights under certain circumstances and if it’s in the best interest of the child.
For more information on Termination Of Parental Rights In Arizona, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (623) 666-5771 today.
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