termination of parental rights
HOW IT WORKS:
The severance of the parent and child relationship is taken very seriously by the Court. The Court will not terminate a parent's rights unless there is a very good cause to do so.
This is important in order to safeguard the rights of the parent, child, and their relationship. The Court will always have the final say as to if the termination is in the best interest of the child.
A hearing will always be conducted by the Court in these cases.
A parent usually cannot just "give up" their rights to a child to avoid payment of child support or because the child and/or the other parent are difficult or have a difficult relationship.
A parent may give up their parental rights if someone else is wanting to adopt the child (typically through a step-parent adoption).
The person asking to terminate the rights of a parent has to prove by clear and convincing evidence that one of the grounds below exists and termination is in the child's best interest.
There are several reasons a Court may terminate rights:
This usually occurs when the parent has not had contact with the child and has not provided any financial support to the child for at least 6 months without a good reason. This shows that the parent intends to give up all rights to the child.
The parent has not properly cared for the child's needs, including providing food, shelter, medical care, education or any other special care needs for the child.
3. The parent is unfit
The parent can't or will not provide the child with proper care, guidance, and support.
4. There is a serious risk of physical, emotional or mental injury if the child is returned to the parent.
The child would be in danger if placed with the parent.
5. Token efforts
The parent has made minimal effort to support the child, communicate with the child, or otherwise care for the child.
6. Failure of parental adjustment
If CPS removes a child from the home, the parent only has so much time to correct the reasons that caused the child to be removed. If the parent does not correct those issues within a "reasonable amount of time," the State can petition to terminate the parent's rights.
7. Sexual assault
If the child was conceived as a result of a sexual assault and the parent was convicted for sexual assault, their rights can be terminated.
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Family Court Cover Sheet
Children Information Form (Declaration)
Petition for Termination of Parental Rights
Notice of Hearing (to be served on other parent)
*All prices do not include the Court's filing fees.
Often, the Court does not charge a filing fee for termination cases, but there may be other fees, such as: personal service on the other parent or publication fees if the other parent cannot be found.
Complete the online Termination questionnaire
Review and print all completed forms
File completed and signed forms with the Court
Serve the Petition and Notice of Hearing personally on the other parent, or if they cannot be found, request for publication
Attend a hearing set by the Court