Terminating Parental Rights
The procedure for terminating parental rights entail great challenges. Parental rights include the ability to raise and spend time with your child as well as the opportunity to participate in their upbringing. A parent’s legal parental rights may be revoked by the court if they are deemed unfit to fulfill their responsibilities.
Parental rights termination is a significant legal action that is only authorized in the most dire circumstances. This blog post will serve as a guide to explain parental rights and the procedures for giving up such rights in order to assist you understand what’s involved.
Reasons Permitting the Termination of Parental Rights
A parent and stepparent who would like to adopt the child or adoptive parents who are unable to get the birth parents’ approval to adopt the child frequently file a petition to terminate parental rights. On the other hand, a petition may be filed for reasons other than adoption. Chapter 7B-1111 of the North Carolina General Statute specifies the circumstances under which a court may revoke parental rights.
These consist of, but are not restricted to:
1. Abuse or neglect (based on current allegations or previous rulings)
2. Keeping a child in foster care for more than a year (unless the child’s placement is solely due to poverty-related concerns)
3. Failing to provide the custodial parent with child support for a minimum of one year
4. Not making child support payments for a period of six months in a row when the child is in foster care or state custody (only if the parent is financially and physically able to provide support)
5. Incapacity to provide care and supervision in situations when the child is deemed a “dependent juvenile,” frequently as a result of drug or alcohol misuse, mental illness, or intellectual deficiency
6. Leaving the child unattended for a minimum of six months (or a newborn for sixty days)
7. Committing a serious crime, such as murder or assault, which leaves a child living in the house injured or dead, or the other parent
Giving Up Parental Rights When a Child Is Born Outside of a Marriage
A father’s parental rights may also be terminated by the court for reasons other than those mentioned above if he has not proven his paternity, such as:
1. filed a paternity affidavit.
2. legitimate the child through a marriage or petition
3. fails to give the child or the child’s mother attention and financial support.
Removing Parental Rights in Unknown Parent Situations
If a parent is unknown, the court will arrange a hearing to try and identify the parent; if the parent cannot be located, the court may even assign someone to look for the parent before terminating the parent’s parental rights. The court will take away the unidentified parent’s rights if no one replies to the public notice and no search yields results.
Revocation of Parental Rights: The Procedure
Only some specific people are able to petition the court to terminate parental rights.
1. A parent wishing to take away the other parent’s parental privileges
2. The guardian designated by law
3. Prior to filing, the guardian had lived with the child for two years in a row.
4. A Department of Social Services-type organization
When petitioning to revoke parental rights, specific facts that comply with the General Statute of North Carolina must be included. A summons will be sent to the kid, the Department of Social Services or adoption agency, the parents, and the guardian assigned by the court after it is filed with the court.
A notice contained in the summons stipulates that all parental and custodial rights may be forfeited if an answer to the petition is not filed within 30 days. In the event that the parent replies, a court hearing will be set, and a family lawyer will be retained to represent both parents—or parent and guardian, depending on who filed the petition—at the hearing.
There isn’t a jury, even if the hearing is formal. While the other parent has the opportunity to defend their behavior, the petitioner presents strong and convincing evidence to establish the reasons for terminating a parent’s rights. The court will take into account any pertinent data and make a decision based on the presented evidence and what is best for the child.
Is It Possible for a Parent to Resign Their Own Rights?
A parent may request to give up their parental claim if they no longer want to be responsible for paying child support or if they want to stop being a parent. A parent cannot revoke their parental rights in North Carolina.
Furthermore, unless the child is being adopted by someone else, the termination of parental rights does not always mean that the responsibility to pay child support is over. For instance, you can still be held responsible for paying child support if your rights were taken away due to negligence and you owe money or have a formal arrangement in place.
Terminating parental rights, such as the right to visitation and the ability to participate in the child’s upbringing, is incompatible with fulfilling parental obligations, such as offering support, in North Carolina.
Frequently Asked Questions About Terminating Parental Rights
1. What does “terminating parental rights” mean?
Terminating parental rights involves legally ending the relationship between a parent and their child, relinquishing all responsibilities and privileges associated with parenthood.
2. Under what circumstances can parental rights be terminated?
Common reasons include abuse, neglect, abandonment, or if the parent is deemed unfit due to issues like substance abuse or mental health concerns.
3. Who can initiate the process of terminating parental rights?
This process is typically initiated by a state child protection agency or, in some cases, by a private individual through legal channels.
4. How does the court determine if termination is in the child’s best interest?
Courts consider factors such as the parent’s ability to provide a safe and stable environment, the child’s emotional and physical well-being, and efforts made by the parent to address any issues.
5. Is termination of parental rights permanent?
Yes, once parental rights are terminated, it is usually permanent. Reinstating rights is a complex legal process and occurs in rare circumstances.
6. Do both parents need to consent to termination?
Not necessarily. In cases of abuse, neglect, or abandonment, consent may not be required, and the court may decide based on the child’s best interest.
7. What happens to the child after parental rights are terminated?
The child may be placed in foster care, adopted, or placed with a guardian, depending on the circumstances and the best interest of the child.
8. Can a parent voluntarily terminate their rights?
Yes, in some cases, parents can voluntarily relinquish their rights through a legal process, often involving court approval.
9. Can terminated parents have any contact with the child?
In most cases, visitation rights are also terminated. However, this may vary depending on the specific details of the court order.
10. What steps should one take to terminate parental rights?
Consulting with an attorney is crucial. They can guide you through the legal process, ensuring all necessary steps are followed.