Termination of Parental Rights
While it is usually not the ideal outcome, the termination of parental rights sometimes may be best for a child. If you or a loved one wants to learn more about the process of giving up your parental rights or having another parent’s rights terminated, you should speak with a San Diego child custody lawyer who can explain the issues to consider. We understand that there is nothing more stressful than assuring the well-being of your children. Roseline D. Feral can advise you on custody, support, adoption, and related family law matters.Situations When the Termination of Parental Rights May Be Appropriate
When a child is born, their parents automatically have certain rights and obligations regarding the child, including the right to custody and the obligation to financially support the child. Under California law, when a parent’s rights are terminated, that parent is no longer considered the legal parent of the child in question. As a result, all rights and obligations associated with being a parent end. In other words, that parent would not then be able to bring a custody, support, or visitation action to the court at some later date.
The issue of terminating parental rights may arise in a number of situations, but the most common is when a stepparent wants to adopt their spouse’s biological child. While the State favors keeping children with their parents, there may be some situations in which terminating a biological parent’s rights becomes in the best interest of the child. There are several grounds for terminating parental rights, including abandonment, as well as neglect, abuse, or cruelty by a parent, sexual abuse, or the long-term incapacity of a parent attributed to alcohol or drugs.
Each case is different, and there is a different way to establish each of the grounds mentioned above for terminating parental rights. An attorney can advise you on whether any of them is likely to be supported in a certain situation. For example, under California Family Code Section 7820, a family law court can terminate the parental and custodial rights of a parent who has abandoned their child. Abandonment constitutes leaving the child with someone who is not their parent for a period of at least six months, or leaving the child with the custodial parent for at least one year while having little or no communication with the child and failing to support the child for more than one year.
As with any child custody or visitation issue in California, the court will consider what is in the best interests of the child in termination proceedings. Under this standard, the court has broad discretion to consider any factor that may be relevant to a child’s overall wellbeing. Some examples of factors that a court may examine include:
- The child’s age;
- The child’s relationship to each parent;
- Who has been the primary parent;
- Each parent’s ability to care for the child;
- Any history of family violence or substance abuse by a parent;
- The child’s preferences (in some cases); and
- The child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community.
It is important to note that a parent will not be successful in having the other parent’s parental rights terminated just because they do not like the other parent. Terminating a parent’s rights is an extremely serious matter, and the court will only formally take such action if there is a legal basis to do so.Explore Your Options with a Child Custody Lawyer in the San Diego Area
Sometimes, the termination of parental rights is a critical step that must be taken. If you are facing a family law issue in this area, you need to reach out to a skilled San Diego attorney as soon as possible. With nearly 30 years of experience, Roseline D. Feral understands how to navigate this emotionally challenging process. She can also help people who need representation in proceedings involving child relocation or other custody issues. She represents people in San Diego, Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Carlsbad, Encinitas, La Jolla, Oceanside, Escondido, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Valley Center, and Vista. To learn more, contact us online or call us at 619-232-1010. Alternatively, you can also reach Attorney Feral directly at 619-301-1191.