The termination of parental rights can be voluntary or involuntary. If
a parent wants to terminate their rights it is surprisingly difficult
because a child has a right to have a parental relationship with both
parents as well as financial support and care from both parents. Involuntary
termination of parental rights by a Court is usually connected to misconduct
by one of the parents (including abandonment). Each state has a statue
that allows for either involuntary or voluntary termination of a parent/child
Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights
In most states there are laws in place that will require consent of both
parents to terminate parental rights. The custodial parent as well as
the parent whose rights are to be terminated will have to be involved
with the assistance of a family law attorney. The child’s interest
in the termination must be represented so the court will appoint a attorney,
or a “Guardian Ad Litem” once the petition to terminate is
filed. The courts must find “good cause” to terminate parental
rights. There is no guarantee that the termination will be granted just
because both parents agree and feel it in the best interest of the child.
The reason behind the request for
voluntary parental termination must be made known to the court before any decision will be considered.
Termination is only granted after the court finds “good cause”
because the court wants the child to have the benefit of having both parents
involved in their life. The most common reasons for requesting termination
include: 1) a parent wants to end his/her financial obligation and/or
child support; and 2) one parent wants to have the other parent completely
removed from the life of the child. Neither of these reasons are usually
enough to constitute “good cause” for the termination. The
courts will typically only approve voluntary termination of parental rights
if adoption (most commonly by a step-parent) of the child will follow.
If you have questions about termination of parental rights or the consequences
of doing so, please get in touch with one of our experienced lawyers here at
Arizona Family Law Attorneys. We can help you through the process.