Courts do not terminate parental rights lightly. They understand how very important these relationships are. If at all possible, they want to keep children with their parents.
That said, there are reasons why they can terminate a parent’s right to have custody of their own children. Some examples include:
- A history of abuse
- A history of mental illness
- Neglect of the child
- A criminal record or offense — generally a felony conviction
- Serious issues with drug or alcohol use
- Influencing a child so that they break the law
- Failing to take proper care of the child
- Child abandonment
- Family abandonment
- Serious risks within the home or when living with the parent
- Childhood drug addiction at birth
This is not a comprehensive list, but it helps to show you some of the reasons that the court may take away parental rights and just how serious they are. It is also worth noting that parents can choose to give up their own rights. They may do this when they want to give the child up for adoption, for example.
These cases can become fairly contentious. It is hard for parents to lose the right to see their children, and they may feel that they have been wronged if the court rules against them. It’s a drastic step to take, and one that can change the child’s life and the parent’s life forever.
As such, it is incredibly important that anyone involved in such a case knows exactly what legal options they have. They must know how to use these options to navigate such a tricky, emotionally difficult situation.