At Women and Children’s Law Center, we protect your rights and see that justice is found for you and your family. We know that these situations can be delicate, which is why our child custody lawyers work to provide compassionate services that will get you the results you are looking for, in the time frame you want. If you are currently in a situation that is not safe or healthy for your child, it is time to get some legal representation. At our law firm, we work hard to represent you to the best of our ability. We do this, because we believe our work can get you closer to a healthy and happy life for you and your child. In this blog we will list all the ways in which you can have the cause to file for a termination of parental rights. Through this list, we hope that you will feel you have a case. And, if you do, contact us today. We can get you and your family into a better situation and on the way to a better life.
Terminating Parental Rights
When you are a parent, you innately have certain parental rights and responsibilities. Both the mother and the father have automatic rights to determine how the child is to be raised upon its birth. Certain aspects, such as education, religion, and healthcare, are all up to the parents of the child. In terms of responsibilities, parents have to provide care for the child such as food, shelter, and protection. However, if a parent has not been able to fulfill the responsibilities of being a parent, they can be ultimately terminated as a caregiver. This is called a “termination of parental rights.” When this occurs, the parent is severed from all decision making in the child’s life.
The upstanding parent can file a termination of parental rights of the opposite parent if they have committed any of the following:
• Physical Abuse
• Sexual Abuse
• Long-term mental illness
• Long-term alcohol or drug abuse
• Failure to Provide
• Commitment of Felonies
If you or your child are victims of domestic physical abuse, you have the right to terminate the parental rights of the assailant. Your child cannot grow happy and healthy if they are afraid for their safety. Keep in mind, even if the child is not the one being abused, you still have the option to terminate rights.
Any sexual abuse occurring in the home, whether the victim is the parent or the child, has the ability to claim for a termination of parental rights. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, in just one year, it was recorded that 16 percent of youths from 14 to 17 were sexually victimized. Victims, mostly younger children, grow to be of low self-esteem and sometimes suicidal. Being a victim is not an environment that is proper to raise a child. Because of this, if you are aware of sexual abuse occurring, it is your duty to report it and separate the child from their abuser.
If one of the parents decides to leave and never return, you can file for abandonment. This means that the parent in question has no ties to the child and has not made any effort to provide for or support the child.
Long-term mental illness
You may file for a termination of parental rights if one parent has been struggling with mental illness for an extensive period of time. However, this can only be claimed if the parent in question has proven unable to provide for the child due to their mental illness. Cases of this could be schizophrenia, depression, bipolar, or intense cases of anxiety disorder. However, if you have no proof that the parent in question is unable to care for your child, you will not have a case. Long-term mental illness can be used as a reason for parental termination if the parent cannot take care of their child, especially if they cannot take care of themselves.
If the parent in question has a history of alcohol or drug abuse, you may file for termination. In this case, if the parent is more involved with their addiction than their child, they have cause to terminate their rights, especially if the safety of the child is in jeopardy.
Failure to Provide
In the state of Oklahoma, if a parent has been proven unable to provide for their child their rights can be terminated. This failure to provide strictly is in reference to them not being able to provide care. The right can also be terminated if the parent is not supporting the child with food, shelter, or protection. Specifically in the state of Oklahoma, even during the pregnancy, if you are unable to provide support, it can be considered a cause for parental termination. Also, if a parent is not present for the first 12 out of 14 months of the child’s life, the opposite parent has the ability to terminate the opposite parent’s parental rights.
Commitment of Felonies
In certain states, even if you commit certain felonies, parental rights can be terminated. For example, any violent crimes can result in parental termination. Specifically, if a parent has committed any violent crimes against their child, such as death or neglect, parental rights can be terminated.
In the state of Oklahoma, if you are imprisoned you may risk your parental rights with your child. If you are imprisoned for a crime, not relating to the well being of your child, you can still keep your parental rights. However, if you are sentenced to more than 10 years and a continued relationship between the parent and the child could be harmful, parental rights can be terminated for the safety of the child.
When filing for parental termination, you must fill out a Petition to Terminate Parental Rights, prior to filing an adoption petition. A court must be consulted and grant you full custody, no matter if you are a biological parent or an adoptive parent.
When you file a parental termination claim, you are essentially severing the ties between that one parent and the child. Once the petition is filed, that parent no longer has any say in the child’s life. They also lose all child visitation rights and custody claims. However, though they have lost the custody of the child, they are still responsible for paying child support until the final paperwork has been put through for a full adoption.
If you are currently in a situation where a child’s safety or well-being is in danger, contact Women and Children’s Law Center. We have child custody lawyers ready to help and prepare you for the legal process of terminating parental rights. We can assist you with your necessary paperwork and represent your family law case in court. It is always good to have someone trustworthy and capable on your side, and we believe with our experience we can help your family. Every child has the right to a happy and healthy life, if one of their biological parents are hindering that right, you need to some legal representation. Contact our law firm today for your legal needs.