The termination of parental rights may be either voluntary or involuntary. One of the most common situations in which parental rights are terminated is when adoption occurs. Other times, a custodial parent may seek the termination of parental rights in a situation where the child no longer has a relationship with the non-custodial parent or the non-custodial parent poses a threat to the child. While voluntary and involuntary termination of parental rights occur in different ways, these decisions have the same end result. When parents agree to terminate the parental rights of a child, the parent's rights and responsibilities regarding parenthood totally end. These rights and responsibilities extend to all issues regarding the child, which can include education choices, medical decisions, custody determinations, and even visitations.
Voluntary termination is most often used in the adoption process. A common example of this situation occurs when a biological parent is willing to terminate rights and the adoptive parent is ready to financially and emotionally support the child. Some non-custodial parents will agree to terminate because doing so is in the best interest of the child or because doing so will terminate the responsibility to pay child support. Parties should note that the termination of parental rights can have a substantial impact upon child support. In many cases when a non-custodial parent voluntarily agrees to terminate parental rights, the non-custodial parent's child support obligations end. Judges tend to not grant a voluntary termination of parental rights simply so that a parent can avoid paying child support.
Involuntary Termination Of Parental Rights
Involuntary termination of parental rights most often include non-custodial parents who refuse to terminate parental rights. The courts in the state of Alabama prefer that a child maintain a healthy and ongoing relationship with both biological parents. Some of the situations in which a court might decide to terminate parental rights include abandonment of the child, abuse or neglect of the child, alcohol or drug dependence, criminal activity, failing to maintain communication with the child, failure to support the child when it is within the parent's ability, mental illness, not spending time with the child as establish in a custody agreement, or the sexual abuse of the child.
Alabama's Two-Pronged Test
The state of Alabama applies a two-pronged test in deciding whether to terminate parental rights. The court first determines whether valid grounds exist for terminating parental rights. Then the court decides whether a valid ground then the court determines whether all viable alternatives to the termination of parental rights have been considered.
The Assistance Of A Top Birmingham Family Law Attorney
If you are seeking termination of parental rights in order to adopt a child or if you are fighting the involuntary termination of parental rights, consider contacting an experienced Birmingham family law attorney like Steve D. Eversole who knows how to help your case reach a positive outcome.