Certain legal conditions must be met before parental rights are terminated by court order.
There are two types of termination; voluntary and involuntary.
A voluntary termination of parental rights occurs when the parent whose rights are being terminated agrees with the termination, cooperates, and signs the proper paperwork and/or appears in court and testifies that s/he is voluntarily giving up rights.
An involuntary termination occurs when the parent whose rights are being terminated is not in agreement with the termination. This can occur when the parent actively opposes the termination, stands by passively and allows it to happen, is absent with whereabouts unknown, or refuses to respond to the suit.
Even if an absent parent cannot be found to be served with a lawsuit terminating rights, there are certain legal steps that can be taken to give “legal notice” without “actual notice”. Translating from “Legalese” to “English”, this means that just because a person is missing or hiding, the termination may still go on. If the termination is in the best interests of the child the judge can make that decision.
Specific legal steps must be taken to locate a missing party. There will also be an attorney appointed to represent the interests of the missing parent.
Termination is not a given. A judge can refuse to terminate parental rights if the judge believes that it is not in the best interests of the child to do so. This can happen even if both parents are in total agreement about the termination.
Here are three common situations involving termination of parental rights:
- Adoption. In order for a child to be adopted, he or she must be available for adoption and (except in an orphan situation) that will involve terminating the parental rights of one or both biological parents. Step parent adoptions will commonly require the termination of rights of one biological parent.
- Abuse, Neglect or Danger. Parental rights can be terminated for abuse or neglect or to prevent harm to the child. Child Protective Services may be involved in these cases.
- Non support, no contact, abandonment, lack of acknowledgment. In some circumstances a parent can lose his/her rights by not supporting, visiting or acknowledging the child.
Parental rights are protected by law, and the terminations of those rights are not taken lightly. Many legal steps must be performed in order for a termination to be granted. The primary consideration is the health, safety, support and well-being of the child involved.
Kalish Law Office in The Woodlands Texas has been representing clients in cases involving termination, adoption, paternity, and parental rights for over 26 years. www.kalishlawtexas.com 281-363-3700 “Passionate Professional and Personal. We Make the Difference.”