Termination of parental rights

In the parent-child relationship, parents have certain rights and responsibilities. Both parents automatically have the right to make decisions about the child’s education, religion, health, etc. However, a court can take those rights away from the father or mother if it violates the law or does not claim paternity. A parent may also voluntarily terminate these rights. The termination of parental rights puts an end to the legal relationship between father or mother and son.

Involuntary termination of parental rights

Each state has its own laws that deal with the termination of parental rights. The most common reasons for involuntary termination of parental rights include:

  • Severe or chronic abuse or neglect.
  • Sexual abuse
  • Abuse or neglect of other children in the home.
  • Abandonment.
  • Long-term mental illness or deficiency of one or both parents.
  • Long-term disability in one or both parents and that has been induced by alcohol or drugs.
  • Do not financially support the child or not maintain contact with him.
  • Involuntary termination of parental rights with respect to another child.

A parent can also lose their parental rights after being convicted of certain serious crimes. If a father commits a violent crime against his son or another member of his family, the court has the option of removing his rights and ending the father-son relationship. In addition, if the father must be incarcerated for a period that requires the child to enter a foster home and there are no alternatives, the father may lose his parental rights.

Temporary reception

If the term of parental rights leaves the child without parents or legally responsible guardians, the court typically places the child in a place of temporary shelter. Before a state can take such a drastic measure and put the child in a place of temporary shelter, it must file a petition under federal adoption law and safe families. However, government agencies have no obligation under the following circumstances:

  • The child has been in a temporary shelter for at least fifteen of the previous 22 months.
  • The court has determined that the child is an abandoned infant.
  • The father has committed homicide against any of his children.
  • The father has been involved in the killing of one of his children, whether helping, being complicit, trying, conspiring, or requesting the act.
  • The father has committed serious aggression that has resulted in serious injury to any of his children.

Many states have adopted laws that provide more protections for children in the circumstances mentioned above, shortening the waiting times required before parental rights can be terminated and placing the child in foster care.

The best interests of the child

Many states consider the best interests of the child in procedures to terminate parental rights. In some states, the legislation uses general language demanding that the health and safety of the child be paramount in all procedures, while in other states the laws list specific factors that should be considered, such as age, physical and mental health, well-being. emotional and moral, cultural and attachment issues and the child’s reasonable preferences.

Reinstatement of parental rights

Most states do not allow reinstatement of parental rights once they have been terminated. However, under certain circumstances, such as when the child has not been permanently placed in a foster home, the parent may have the option to file a petition to show that they have the ability to provide a safe and enriching home.

Voluntary termination of parental rights

Typically, parents terminate their rights voluntarily when they wish to give the child up for adoption. You can find information on the Child Welfare Information Portal (in English) of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and in our adoption article .


Talk to a lawyer qualified in Family Law today

This article is intended to be useful and informative, but legal issues can become complicated and stressful. A lawyer qualified in family law can attend to your particular legal needs, explain the law and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a qualified family law attorney near you to discuss your particular legal situation.


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