When couples choose to have a child, they are automatically granted certain rights and responsibilities upon the birth of that child. This can include the right to make important decisions about how they will raise the child, such as education, religion, and parenting choices. In rare cases, it may be the court’s determination that a parent is no longer fit to have these rights.

Termination of Parental Rights

Child's Best Interests

When parental rights are in question, the court’s overarching goal is to present an outcome that keeps the child’s best interests in mind. This means creating a situation in which the child has the best possible chance of growing and developing into a well-adjusted, happy, and healthy adult. This can involve granting custody to a single parent, splitting custody between both parents, or placing children with foster care or another family member.

Losing Parental Rights

Parental rights are not set in stone. When there is clear evidence of abuse or neglect of children by both parents, it may be in the children’s best interest for them to be removed from the home and for parental rights to be terminated. Parents can lose their parental rights for many reasons, including physical abuse, continual neglect, sexual abuse, abandonment, alcohol or drug abuse, or murder of another one of their children.

Unjustified Parental Termination

Unfortunately, the court may sometimes grant termination of parental rights incorrectly. Allegations of neglect may be unfounded, or the parenting technique a couple employs may fall outside of what is considered socially acceptable without actually resulting in harm to a child. In these cases, parents fighting to maintain their rights may be able to hire a parental rights termination attorney to fight the government’s intrusion in their lives.

Restoring Parental Rights

Reinstatement of parental rights is rarely allowed in most states once the process of termination has been completed. However, when the child has not received a permanent foster home placement, a parent may be able to successfully petition the court to show that he or she has taken the necessary steps to once again be considered a safe and fit parent. Reaching out to an experienced child custody or adoption lawyer can help answer any legal questions.