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How Termination Of Parental Rights Works In California?

When a child is born, the birth parents automatically have specific rights and responsibilities regarding that child, plus the right to custody and the responsibility to support the child. California normally encourages maintaining children with their parents as long as it is in the child’s best interests. However, parental rights are from time to time terminated, whether a parent gives up the right to their child voluntarily or the court agrees it is in the child’s best interests to terminate the parent’s parental rights.

The procedure of terminating parental rights in California can differ, particularly depending on the reason for termination. It is always important to work with a family law attorney if you are confronting the loss of your parental rights, even if you are doing so voluntarily. The significances of terminating parental rights are life-changing and hardly ever revocable.

What are the reasons Parental Rights are Terminated in California?

There are numerous reasons why a parent’s rights might be terminated in California.

  • Abandonment – When a child has been abandoned by one or both parents.
  • Abandonment comprises of leaving a child with someone who is not the other parent for a period of at least six months, or leaving the child with the other parent for at least one year with little or no communication with the child.

    • Court may also establish failure to pay child support as a type of abandonment.

  • Neglect, Abuse, or Cruelty – Children who face neglect, abuse, violence or cruelty at home may be removed from their home; therefore, the court may choose to terminate parental rights.
  • Neglect constitutes a failure to care for the child and provide the child with necessities like food, water, shelter, access to education and medical care.

    • Abuse and cruelty can mean the child faces physical violence, but it can also include mental, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse or violence.

    • Permitting the child to face any of the above at the hands of a caretaker also falls into this category.

    • Any parent who subjects a child to violence, especially violence between the parents – even if the violence is not directed at the child.

    • Subjecting a child to things like drug or alcohol abuse can constitute abuse as well.

Can one get their Parental Rights reinstated After They Have Been Terminated?

The procedure of ending parent’s rights is long and complicated. Parental rights can first be terminated if the parent gives up their rights voluntarily, or if the court concludes that it is in the child’s best interests for a parent’s rights to be terminated.

California, law always encourages a child’s best interests. Terminating parental rights is not a decision the family law court makes lightly, and it is uncommon that the decision will be reversed.

If a parent is giving up their rights voluntarily, especially if the parent is thinking adoption, California will likely have the parent work with a professional who can ensure the parent understands the consequences of his or her action. A birth mother who determines to put her child up for adoption will have many opportunities to change her mind before signing the adoption papers, which cannot happen until the child is born.

Even parents whom are denied the right to custody or visitation may not lose their full parental rights right away. A parent who desires to keep their parental rights will usually have the opportunity to prove that custody or visitation should be granted before the family law court terminates rights.

If you are facing the termination of your rights as a parent, contact a family law lawyer. Paternity lawyers can help you protect your rights.