Grounds for Terminating Parental Rights in California

Tue 5th October, 2021 Family Law

Being a parent is one of the greatest joys and also one of the greatest responsibilities. If a parent substantially fails in their responsibilities for their child, it may give rise to the termination of their parental rights. In California, the court will only terminate a parent’s rights in extreme circumstances, so if you are facing this situation, it is critical that you utilize the services of a knowledgeable family law attorney for your case. To learn more about your legal rights in this situation, call or contact the Law Offices of Bradley S. Sandler in Beverly Hills today to schedule a free consultation.

What Does it Mean to Terminate Parental Rights?

When a court terminates parental rights, it means that the legal relationship between a parent and child is severed. The parent no longer has the right to child custody, visitation, child support, inheritance, medical insurance, Social Security, or liability for the child’s misconduct. The court takes a parent’s rights seriously and only involuntarily terminates parental rights in the most serious circumstances. If you wish to terminate another parent’s rights, it is important that you secure the services of an experienced California family law attorney.

Grounds for Terminating Parental Rights

In order to involuntarily terminate a parent’s rights, you must state specific grounds, or reasons, for the termination. Simply claiming that they are a bad parent or that they fail to pay child support is not enough to warrant the termination of rights. California law provides for the following reasons to terminate the parental rights with a child:

  • The parent abandoned the child,
  • The parent subjected the child to cruelty or neglect,
  • The parent is considered disabled due to moral depravity or substance abuse,
  • The parent was convicted of certain felony offenses,
  • The parent is mentally ill or developmentally disabled, or
  • The parent is mentally disabled.

The court is also more likely to terminate a parent’s rights if there is another adult who is willing to take their place and adopt the child, such as a stepparent, foster parent, or a grandparent. It is important to note that if a parent owes child support in arrears and has their rights involuntarily terminated they still owe the remainder of the child support in arrears up to the date that their rights were terminated.

Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

A parent also has the option to voluntarily terminate their parental rights. This requires a series of legal steps that should be undertaken with a high quality family law attorney in order to ensure that the process is completed properly. A parent may choose to voluntarily terminate their rights if they wish to avoid paying child support, are not a part of their child’s life, or if another person wishes to adopt the child.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today

If you wish to learn more about terminating parental rights in California the Law Offices of Bradley S. Sandler are here to help. Call the office or contact us today to schedule a free consultation.