What Does It Mean When A Court Terminates Parental Rights?

There are situations in which parents are not capable of caring for their children, and one option the court has in these situations is to terminate the parental rights of a parent. Terminating parental rights is a big deal, and there are several things you should understand about this if you are worried this might happen to you.

Termination of Parental Rights Is Not the First Step of the Court

The first thing to understand is that a court will not simply terminate a parent's rights to a child automatically. In other words, if there is a problem with the parent-and-child relationship, the court will not instantly terminate the parent's rights. Instead, the court may take other steps, which will protect the child and give the parent time to make the situation right. This may involve the parent making changes in his or her life, such as getting help for an addiction or moving out of the house of an abusive boyfriend. The court is most interested in protecting the children involved, but they will also give a parent time to step up to the plate.

Reasons Courts Terminate Rights

When child protective services (CPS) are involved in a case, the court may decide to terminate the rights of the parent if the parent does not cooperate with CPS, and this is often due to abandonment, addiction, neglect, abuse, criminal activity, or mental health issues. If CPS is not involved, matters concerning children are often brought to the court by other family members. This may include the other biological spouse, the grandparents, or the other relatives. When the court hears of any issue that could pose risks to a child's safety and wellbeing, they take the issue very seriously.

Ways to Prevent This

If you are a parent who is on the verge of losing your parental rights, there might be ways to prevent this from happening. One option is to contact a family lawyer for help. The lawyer will help you determine what you need to do with your life to stop the court from terminating your rights.

If your parental rights were already terminated by the court, you could try to get the rights back to your children. Doing this would require a lot of hard work and proof, but it is possible. If you have any questions about this issue, contact a family attorney near you today.