No matter what circumstances you find yourself in or the type of adoption you are planning to pursue, know that each type of adoption will involve the legal transfer of parental rights from one to another. Just know that in every case, this simply means that the rights of the biological parents must terminate legally before another family can adopt the child into their family.
When it comes to the termination of parental rights, this often happens in two ways, including voluntary or involuntary termination. As you read below, you will learn about each one and the role it plays in legal processes and the adoption.
Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights
In the case of an expectant mother choosing adoption for her baby, this falls under the “voluntary terminating” of parental rights. This occurs when the birth parent gives legal consent to adoption, giving up all their parental responsibilities and rights. However, note that this type of adoption often tags along with domestic infant adoptions. In general, the mothers who consider adoption for their babies have the right to consent. However, for birth fathers, they must establish legal paternity before they get the right to contest for an adoption. Just know that the laws and adoption processes vary by State, hence you should consult an adoption attorney such as Tom Tebeau to get the latest update on the processes.
Talking about state laws, it also determines how and when to execute the consent. Once a parent decides to adopt, they get a limited time to withdraw their consent before it will become irrevocable.
Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
At other times, involuntary termination of parental right may result involuntarily by the court. Keep in mind that voluntary termination grounds vary for different states. Some of the reasons that push this action include sexual abuse, neglect, mental illness, drug abuse, abandonment, or failure to support the child and maintain a good relationship with the child. Although involuntary termination of parental rights remains common in domestic adoptions, it also tags along with foster care adoption.
The Grounds for Terminating Parental Rights
For any parent, for sure, hearing the term termination of parental rights is the most frightening word they can hear. They fear they may lose their child to a system, which would push them to work on improving their current situation for the benefit of the child. For some parents, however, termination can lead to relief, as they find it difficult to provide the right help for their child. In some cases, parents terminate their parental rights voluntarily, as mentioned above, or as they feel is suitable for their child. To protect the children in need, the parental rights termination process remains one of the strongest legal actions to protect the children that need it the most.
The grounds for terminating parental rights often differ from one state to the other. However, the common grounds the lead to this action include:
Child Abuse Factors
Sometimes, chronic or severe physical abuse of the child could be a factor to prompt this action. As well as sexual abuse, torturing the child physically, emotional damage inflicted by the parent, neglecting the child, failing to provide food, shelter, abuse, and abandoning the child.
Sometimes, parental factors also lead to the termination of parental rights. Some of the common factors include long-term mental illness, alcohol addiction or drug abuse of the parent, failure to support the child, failure to provide education, poor maintenance of contact with the child, failure of the parent to comply with the orders of the court.
Furthermore, parents lose their rights if they push the child to commit some crime. Unreasonably withholding adoption consent by non-custodial parents. If the location or identity of the father is not clear after reasonable attempts to find him.
There are additional factors as well, which include:
- Risks of harm to the child
- The child is in foster care for about 15 months or more and the parent is still not ready to reunite
- A newborn child addicted to drugs or alcohol
- The child requires continuous care and the parent fails
- The child developed a strong relationship with his or her foster parents
- The child’s preference
When it comes to the termination of parental rights, you need to know that it is a sensitive aspect of adoption and one that needs the right attention. For the best help, it is advisable that you consult an adoption attorney in your area. Take your time to ask them any relevant questions you have in mind, learn more about the various types of adoption services, the procedure details, and more about the entire process. You can ask the attorney to explain individual types of adoptions, how they work as well.