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Why might a court terminate parental rights?

When two parents choose to split up, they must address the issues surrounding the upbringing of their child and which parent will retain primary physical and legal custody of the child. Often, this significantly restricts the rights of one parent or the other. In most cases, raising a child separately does not completely terminate the parental rights of either party, but there are certain circumstances under which these rights may terminate.

A court may choose to terminate parental rights for a parent under variety of circumstances, mostly having to do with a dangerous relationship between that parent and the child or a parent's serious lack of ability to support the child in a meaningful way.

Parental rights may terminate because of

  • Evidence of abuse to the child from a parent
  • Evidence of neglect of the child
  • Abandonment of the child
  • Mental illness on the part of the parent
  • Substance abuse on the part of the parent
  • Felony convictions of a parent, especially those carrying significant jail time
  • A parent's inability to provide for the child's care or education

While these are not the only reasons why a court may choose to revoke parental rights, these examples paint a broad picture of some of the most common justifications a court may use.

If you believe that your child's other parent exhibits grounds for parental rights removal, be sure to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand how the law applies in your circumstances. Professional counsel helps ensure that your rights remain protected and secure as you navigate this difficult season to protect the child you love.

Source: FindLaw, "Checklist: Grounds for Terminating Parental Rights," accessed Jan. 12, 2018

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