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When Will a Court Terminate Parental Rights?

Termination of parental rights is a legal process in which a person’s rights as a parent are permanently taken away. This means they are no longer considered the child’s legal parent, losing the right to visit or communicate with the child and the ability to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.

In some cases, the child may be eligible for adoption without the parent’s permission. The court takes this serious step to protect children in extremely detrimental situations involving their custodial parent. It is important to note that initiating the process to terminate another parent’s rights is rare and typically requires compelling reasons.

Voluntary vs. involuntary termination

There are two ways in which parental rights can be terminated: voluntarily or involuntarily. Voluntary termination occurs when a parent agrees to give up their parental rights. Courts generally do not allow parents to terminate their rights solely to avoid child support obligations.

Involuntary termination occurs when a parent does not agree to give up their rights, but the court decides that termination is necessary. If a court terminates a parent’s rights, it is not limited to the current children involved. The court may also deem them unfit parents for future children as well. Social services may petition for the termination of parental rights as soon as a new baby is born.

Grounds for termination

In Minnesota, there are nine grounds for terminating parental rights: abandonment, neglect, failure to support financially, being an unfit parent, failure to rectify problems resulting in foster care placement, egregious harm to the child, absence of an involved birth father, neglect and foster care and serious criminal convictions.

For help with your parental rights case, call the experienced family lawyers at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. in St. Paul, MN today.

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