Termination of Parental Rights
If you are considering divorce, or going through a child custody battle, you may have questions regarding your parental rights, and if they can be terminated either voluntarily or involuntarily. There are several legally complex challenges regarding the termination of parental rights, and if this is a consideration in your situation, you may consider visiting with an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible to ensure your rights are protected.
Termination of Parental Rights
There are two ways in which a parent’s rights to their child (both physical and legal custody) may be terminated: voluntary termination and involuntary termination. However, in either of these circumstances, the consequence is that the parent will never have any right to see their children or have any decision making authority with respect to their children ever again. Their parental rights will be permanently terminated.
Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights
Most parents do not voluntarily terminate their parental rights. However, there are circumstances where a parent allows their parental rights to be terminated when a stepparent adopts their child. Typically, most courts want to ensure that both biological parents care for a child both emotionally and financially, therefore, these cases are rare. Even if a parent wants to terminate their parental rights, a court may deny their request and require them to continue to pay child support. Courts do not take the termination of parental rights lightly and attempt to avoid it at all costs.
Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
The circumstances under which a court would involuntarily terminate a parent’s right to their child are rare and extreme. In most cases, a court will do everything in its power to ensure that the relationship between a parent and child is encouraged. However, there are some egregious cases in which the court will make the decision to involuntarily terminate a parent’s physical and legal rights to their child. Some of the common reasons include the following:
- Severe abuse or neglect
- Sexual abuse
- Abuse or neglect of other children
- Severe mental illness or deficiency of the parent
- Long-term incapacitation of the parent as a result of alcohol or drug abuse
- Continued failure to either contact or support the child
- The parent’s rights were involuntarily terminated with respect to another child.
Again, the circumstances under which a court would involuntarily terminate the rights of a parent are extreme and uncommon.
The Difference Between Sole Custody vs. Termination of Parental Rights
There is often confusion between the terms sole custody and termination of parental rights. Sole custody simply gives one parent the complete and total legal and physical rights to a child. However, the other parent still has visitation rights to see their child. Additionally, in most cases, the parent that does not have physical or legal custody will still be responsible for child support payments.
Therefore, in cases of sole custody, both parents still are allowed to have a relationship and connection to their child. However, when there is a termination of parental rights, the parent is considered by law to be a stranger to that child and will have no right to see their child or participate in their lives.
Let Us Help You Today
If you are navigating child custody decisions, contact the Las Vegas family attorneys at Ghandi Deeter Blackham Law Offices. We can answer all of your child custody questions, and help you with your next steps. Visit with one of our attorneys at 410-535-5500 today for your free consultation.