Termination of Parental Rights
The term “parental rights” refers to the legal relationship between a parent and a child. In certain cases, another individual or a government agency will seek to terminate the rights of one or both parents. If you are involved in a termination of parental rights case, you need the support of a family lawyer who can help you navigate the complex legal hurdles and protect the best interests of you and your family. The team at the Family Law firm of Donna J. Smiedt in Arlington, TX, helps families in these difficult cases. For help with matters involving the termination of parental rights, schedule a consultation today. You can reach us online or call us at 817-572-9900.
What Does It Mean to Terminate Parental Rights?
When a determination is made to legally terminate parental rights, the parent-child relationship is effectively ended. The process can be voluntary or involuntary:
- In a voluntary termination of rights case, the parent agrees to sign an affidavit of voluntary relinquishment, or an affidavit of waiver of interest. Both of these documents are effective ways to terminate the rights of a parent.
- In an involuntary termination of rights case, the parent does not agree to the termination. Involuntary termination may be enacted in cases of abandonment, abuse, neglect, failure to support the child, and a lack of contact with the child.
It is important to remember that in an involuntary case, the court must delve into the specifics, and this can be painful for all parties involved. In some instances, there is long-term incapacity of the parent due to alcohol or drug abuse, and termination of rights is determined to be appropriate. Parental rights will also be terminated when a child is adopted, and can even happen when a child is placed in foster care. Whatever the reason for the termination, we understand the matter is complex and difficult. Our goal is to come to a final resolution that serves the best interests of the child.
Termination of parental rights cases are challenging. Donna J. Smiedt helps to alleviate the toll this issue takes on a family.
Who Can Seek Termination of Parental Rights?
Any number of interested persons or governmental agencies can seek termination of parental rights. The possibilities range from a foster parent, potential adoptive parent, concerned family member, or a Department of Family and Protective Services worker. In each case, the court will become involved and enter a final determination regarding whether the rights of the parent should be terminated.
The Importance of Having an Attorney by Your Side
Whether your rights as a parent are being questioned, or you are seeking to have rights terminated, it is critical to have an attorney in your corner. Involuntary termination of rights is done when “clear and convincing evidence” for revocation of rights has been presented to the court. This requires gathering detailed data regarding the parent in question. The court will make its finding based on what is best for the child. This involves considering the past relationship of the parent and child as well as any damaging behavior by the parent. These cases are typically complex and involve many complicated questions of law. An attorney can make sure you are represented fairly and competently, and that the child's best interests are ultimately protected.
Book a Consultation
Whether you are seeking to have rights terminated, or someone is seeking to have your rights terminated, we are here to help. To book a consultation, call our office at 817-572-9900, or contact us online.