Terminating parental rights is a significant step which should be well understood. Parental rights can be terminated voluntarily or involuntarily and parents should understand the process for terminating parental rights.
Terminating parental rights
Parents have both rights and responsibilities in the parent child relationship. Both parents have the right to make decisions concerning the child’s education, religion, health care and other important concerns unless parental rights have been terminated.
Parental rights can be terminated in the following circumstances:
- severe or chronic abuse or neglect;
- sexual abuse;
- abuse or neglect of other children in the household;
- long-term mental illness or deficiency of one or both of the parents;
- long-term alcohol or drug-induced incapacity of one or both of the parents;
- failure to support or maintain contact with the child; or
- involuntary termination of the rights of the parent to another child.
The commission of certain crimes may also result in parental rights being terminated. The family law system always considers what is in the best interests of the child whenever child custody is considered. What is in the best interests of the child is also taken into account when the family law court considers terminating parental rights.
Child custody is a complex issue for most parents during their divorce and one aspect of that process may be the termination of parental rights. Because emotions can understandably run high when child custody is concerned, divorcing parents should be familiar with the child custody process and always stay focused on what is best for the child.