Parental rights have to do with the legal relationship between parents and their children when the parents divorce. They involve a parent’s responsibility to financially support their children, the right to custody and visitation, and the right to make important decisions about their child, such as what religion the child is raised in, where the child lives, and what school the child attends.
When a child is born to married parents or when a child is born to unmarried parents and paternity is legally established, parental rights are in force. It is not easy to strip parental rights away from a parent so they are relieved of all rights and responsibilities toward their child, but under certain circumstances it is possible.
How Are Parental Rights Terminated?
A biological parent can voluntarily waive their parental rights, but this usually happens when both parents feel it is in the best interests of the child. If a parent surrenders their parental rights, it’s irrevocable. Once it’s done, it’s permanent and there is no way for him or her to change it.
The terminating of parental rights can also be involuntary. It can happen when a child ends up in foster care and a city or foster care agency asks the family court to terminate a parent’s parental rights. There are five legal grounds in New York to terminate parental rights, including:
- Permanent neglect
- Mental illness
- Mental retardation
- Severe and repeated child abuse
Note: In a child custody case, one parent cannot try to terminate the other parent’s parental rights. If you want to learn more about how a parent’s rights can be terminated; for example, in the case of domestic violence, reach out to our firm for assistance.
Sometimes, a child is adopted by a stepparent. Usually, for a child to be adopted by a stepparent, the child’s noncustodial parent has to voluntarily terminate their parental rights. Contact Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C. to learn more.