Criminal Law
Criminal Law
Criminal law concerns the system of legal rules that define what conduct is classified as a crime and how the government may prosecute individuals that commit crimes. Federal, state, and local governments all have penal codes that explain the specific...
Murder
Murder
Murder occurs when one human being unlawfully kills another human being. This is also known as homicide. The precise legal definition of murder varies by jurisdiction. Most states distinguish between different degrees of murder. Some other states base...
Drug Charges
Drug Charges
Drug Charges Laws regulating drug crimes are an area of intense interest in the United States right now. Many states have contemplated drug law reforms, including the increasing legalization of medical marijuana , and, in a few states, general marijuana...
Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence Domestic violence is a category of violent crime that applies to abuse and disputes that may arise in a familial or relationship context. Since the violence is “domestic,” it often occurs within the confines of the home or private...
Assault and Battery
Assault and Battery
Violent Crimes Crimes defined as violent may vary by state, but they often include crimes of harm against another person like assault or battery, sexual crimes like rape, and serious property crimes like arson. Although homocide crimes are often...
Armed Robbery
Armed Robbery
Robbery Robbery is defined as the taking of another’s property by force or threat. It is sometimes also referred to as larceny by threat or force. Because robbery involves injury or the threat of injury, it is considered a more serious crime than many of...
Burglary and Theft
Burglary and Theft
Theft Crimes Theft crimes are crimes that involve the unauthorized taking of the property of another with the intent to deprive them of it permanently. Historically, theft involved three different categories of crime: larceny, embezzlement and false...
Arson
Arson
Arson Arson is defined as the willful and malicious burning of the property of another. It is considered a violent crime and is treated as a felony in most states. According to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, almost 17,000 acts of arson...
Traffic Offenses
Traffic Offenses
Traffic Offenses The law of traffic offenses, also known as traffic violations, covers unlawful activities that occur while an individual is operating a motor vehicle. Traffic offenses are typically governed by state motor vehicle codes that define...
Identity Theft
Identity Theft
Identity Theft “Identity theft” is the use of someone else’s personal information without his or her permission, usually for financial gain. While state and federal laws prohibit identity theft and provide restitution for victims, the immediate impact on...

Termination of Parental Rights

The law in the United States holds a special regard for the rights of parents. Parents are allowed to make important choices on behalf of their children, and the state is rarely allowed to interfere. In return, parents are required to materially and emotionally support their children until they reach adulthood. However, sometimes parents are unable or unwilling to provide a safe home for their children. In those circumstances, the state is able to come in and terminate the parental rights of the biological parents and remove the child for placement in a safer home. While state laws differ on the specifics, there are several common situations in which the state can terminate the rights of a biological parent.

Circumstances for Termination

Generally, the state needs to prove that the parent is unfit to care for the child in order to terminate parental rights. Frequently, this will be due to abuse or neglect. If a parent has been shown by clear and convincing evidence to be unfit, and the termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child, a court may order the termination. Parental unfitness may be specifically defined by the state, but it usually includes grounds such as severe and chronic neglect, abuse or neglect of other children in the household, sexual abuse, abandonment of the child, long-term mental illness or incapacity due to addiction, and termination of rights to another child.

The Process of Termination

The termination of parental rights is usually a long and emotional process. If a parent is accused of abuse or neglect, in most states, the first step is for local child protective services to investigate the situation. In severe cases, the District Attorney may decide to bring charges.

If there is evidence of abuse or neglect, the local division of youth and family services (or the equivalent) will open a case. If at all possible, the ultimate goal will be reunification with the biological family. However, in some cases, the abuse is so cruel or severe that this is unlikely. Depending on the circumstances, the child may be removed from the home during this process. During this time period, the local family services agency will usually try to work with the parents to help them be able to provide a safe home in the future. Interventions may include drug and alcohol counseling, mental health treatment, and parenting classes. Parents may or may not have visitation during this period, and they may or may not be supervised during the visitation.

At some point, the judge will need to decide whether the child can be returned to their parents’ home or whether termination proceedings will begin. The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) usually requires the state agency to file a petition for termination if the child has been in foster care for 15 out of the last 22 months. Some states allow exceptions to this rule when the child is in the care of a relative, the state agency has not provided the necessary services to the parent, or there is another compelling reason.

The burden is on the court to show that the parent is unfit. Since the right to parent one’s own child is considered very important, some states offer attorneys to indigent parents free of charge for these proceedings. If your parental rights are being threatened, a skilled family law attorney may be able to help you preserve your rights.

Reinstating Terminated Rights

Some states allow terminated rights to be reinstated in certain circumstances. For example, in some states, parents whose rights have been terminated can petition for reinstatement of their rights if the child is not permanently placed by a specific time. However, the parent must prove to the judge that they are fit in order for reinstatement to take place.

Voluntary Termination

Typically, when people talk about the termination of parental rights, they are talking about involuntary termination by the court. However, in many circumstances, parents can also voluntarily terminate their parental rights. For example, some states will give parents incentives for voluntarily relinquishing their parental rights by allowing ongoing visitation with the child even after their rights are terminated. Voluntary termination may be in the best interests of all parties when there is a suitable permanent placement available for the child, and parents are unlikely to make the progress necessary for reunification.

Termination of Parental Rights is viewed very seriously by the courts and if you have no representation that is skilled in law, you are at the mercy of the courts.  George will ensure the best outcome in our case and has been proven to get results time and time again.

 

Family Law
Family Law
Family Law Some of the most emotional and complex matters that you can face involve your family relationships. These can evolve over time as spouses find that they have grown apart, or the needs of children change. Often, spouses or parents can reach an...
Divorce
Divorce
Divorce It is a reality of modern life that not every marriage lasts forever. The divorce rate has been steadily rising throughout the United States for decades. If you are considering ending your marriage, you should learn something about the process in...
Legal Separation
Legal Separation
Legal Separation A legal separation occurs when a married couple makes a formal (legal) decision to live separate lives, often while considering or preparing for divorce . There are many reasons that a couple may prefer a legal separation instead of a...
Prenuptial Agreements
Prenuptial Agreements
Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into prior to a marriage or civil union. A postnuptial agreement is a similar contract entered into after a marriage or civil union. These agreements are typically notarized...
Parental Rights
Parental Rights
What are Parental Rights? In a family law context, parental rights refer to a parent’s rights to make important decisions and take certain actions on behalf of their child. Such rights are generally deemed automatic for biological parents, as well as...
Adoption
Adoption
Adoption If you are considering bringing an adopted child into your life, this is a momentous decision. You should take the time to understand the full scope of your options, which may be broader than you imagine. People at any stage of life can be...
Termination of Parental Rights
Termination of Parental Rights
Termination of Parental Rights The law in the United States holds a special regard for the rights of parents. Parents are allowed to make important choices on behalf of their children, and the state is rarely allowed to interfere. In return, parents are...