Severance of Parental Rights

Severance of Parental Rights: In some states the term that is used is the "termination of parental rights." This is the process of involuntarily taking away the parental rights of a parent that has abandoned a child, has without just cause failed to support a child, has neglected or abused a child, has stood by and allowed others to neglect or abuse a child, or who because of extended incarceration in prison, will be unavailable to properly parent or nurture the child during its formative years. Once the parental rights of both parents of a child have been severed, the child will become available for adoption by another family.

When going through the adoption process, you may have to go through the steps to ensure proper termination of parental rights. Most adoptions will require that there is proper paperwork to satisfy the courts of this termination before the adoptive parents can formally and legally adopt a child. As with anything involved with the adoption process, this subject and all of the laws that apply can vary from state to state depending on their individual statutes.

In special circumstances where the birth parents of the child in question may be deceased, then the relatives who have custody may provide voluntary consent for the adoption. The termination of parental rights in any case can be either voluntary or involuntary.

Voluntary termination of parental rights is when it is mutually agreed by both placing parents, or a possible case of one or the other parent, to voluntary give up rights so the child may be adopted. Involuntary termination of parental rights can happen when abuse or neglect may be noted by the courts. Another reason for the involuntary termination could be because a child may have been in foster care for several years. In these cases, the social worker who may be assigned will have determined that neither parent can assume their responsibilities and the termination is warranted.

In most cases of private adoption, the termination of these rights is a voluntary one. At this time, both parents sign over their rights and file the proper paperwork and consent forms so the child may be adopted. During this time, depending on each individual state, there is generally a time period where the birth parents are allowed to change their mind.

In any case, when going through the process of adoption, it is a good idea to study up on all of the laws within your state. Whether you are the placing parent or the person wishing to adopt, it is a must to have all of the proper paperwork in place for the termination of parental rights.