• Kevin G Williamson

Termination of Parental Rights Law

One of the most frustrating issues I deal with is that of the dead beat parent. When one parent is only involved with a child sporadically, the child and other parent are left wondering when the other may pop up; or worse, when will they fail to show up. In such a case, the most protective measure for the child is to terminate that parents rights to the child.

The process of legally severing the other parent’s rights effectively makes that person no longer the parent. This is called Termination of Parental Rights (“TPR”) and can be done in the following circumstances:

1. A court has found that the child has been abused or neglected by the person whose rights are being terminated; 2. One parent has been granted legal custody and the other parent, without justification, failed to pay child support; 3. If the child was born out of wedlock and the parent failed to acknowledge the child; 4. The parent is incapable of providing proper care and supervision of the child because of mental illness, substance abuse or other condition; 5. The parent has abandoned the child for at least 6 consecutive months prior to filing the petition.

This is not something you should consider lightly. Terminating one’s parental rights is a very drastic measure. The consequences significant and widespread, everything from loss of right to visitation to loss of inheritance but what may be most impactful to a single parent is the loss of right to child support. I only recommend this in extreme circumstances or when someone else wants to adopt the child.

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