Termination of parental rights effectively ends the legal rights of one parent over a child.
If a parent or social services agency petitions a court, the court may terminate all rights of a parent to the child. However, termination of parental rights can be difficult.
If a parent does not properly pay child support is not a valid legal reason to terminate parental rights.
In an adoption, a judge must make sure that it has the written consent of a parent who, for good cause, desires to terminate his or her parental rights.
Otherwise, the judge must find that one or more of the following conditions exists:
- That the parent has abandoned the child;
- That the parent has substantially and repeatedly refused or neglected to meet his or her duties as a parent – including failing to provide necessary food, clothing, shelter, education, and other care which is necessary for the child’s physical, mental, and/or emotional wellbeing.
- That the parent has been ordered to pay support for a child and the parent has continuously failed to do so without good cause.
- That the parent is palpably unfit because of a consistent pattern of conduct towards the child which shows to the court that the parent is unable or unfit to care for the physical, mental, or emotional needs of the child.
If you believe that you may be able to prove some of the above-listed factors to a judge, you may be able to terminate the parental rights of one parent.
The best interest of the child standard is always used be a Minnesota judge. The judge will want to make sure that the termination of parental rights is what is best for the child. If the judge finds that the termination is not in the child’s best interest, the judge likely will not terminate parental rights.
Often, it is much easier to terminate parental rights if a parent and/or step-parent petition for adoption of a child. The court is much more likely to agree to termination of parental rights if a judge is convinced that the child will be care for by the adoptive parent(s). However, this does not mean that the biological parent does not have rights and is not entitled to notice of what is going on.
Speaking with a qualified Minnesota adoption lawyer is a great place to start. Termination of parental rights is often viewed as an extreme remedy and you need to make sure that you have solid evidence as to why a parent’s rights should be terminated, or, have an adoptive parent ready to file a petition for adoption.
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