Chandler parental termination lawyer
Helping people throughout the Phoenix Valley, including Tempe and Gilbert, with parental termination and other family law issues
Sometimes a parent disappears from the scene and acts as if he or she never had a child. Sometimes this is because the parent wants to avoid responsibility for the minor. Other times the parent does not want to be “bothered” with a child. This may be because the parent still has some growing up to do or has enough trouble dealing with his or her own problems. This unfortunate situation typically results in parental termination, parental severance, or parental rights revocation. Essentially, it is a legal process whereby the parent’s rights go away but the responsibilities of parenthood, such as providing child support or health insurance for the child, may or may not remain. Since most parents do not willingly agree to such an outcome, getting there can be very difficult. That’s why it’s important to have a Chandler parental termination lawyer by your side throughout the process.
The parental termination process
In a nutshell, here’s how parental termination works: The party who wants the termination files a motion, petition, or pleading for termination of parental rights with the clerk of court in the county where the child lives. A routine preliminary hearing is held, followed by a final hearing, or “trial.” Then the judge issues a ruling on the parental termination request, either at the hearing or in writing soon after.
When the parent facing termination fights it
Occasionally, you get lucky and the non-involved parent voluntarily asks to have his or her own parental rights severed. Or the parent at least agrees to go along with the other parent who suggests parental termination, or with a court, social service agency, or counselor. Such cooperation makes things much easier.
But if the parent whose rights are proposed for severance refuses to sign a Consent to Terminate form or orally agree to the termination, then the court likely will hold at least two hearings and maybe more.
At the initial hearing, the judge makes sure everyone has notice of the request and is aware of what parental termination means. The judge also answers any procedural questions, may assign a guardian ad litem to advocate for the child’s best interests, sets any rules regarding discovery, and schedules the final adjudicatory hearing.
At this point, the party who wants the termination scurries about, trying to pull together as many witnesses, documents, and other evidence as possible. This evidence may further convince the court that it would be best for everyone to cut the other parent’s ties with the child.
Whether parental termination is permanent
Yes, parental termination is permanent. For this reason, you should not take parental termination lightly. It is not like a protective order barring someone from having contact with someone else for a short but renewable period of time. The termination is effective immediately and becomes permanent. In this respect, it is much like adoption, which often is the next and final step in the process. So it is critical to weigh all factors.
If you file for parental termination, you must consider any possible negative aspects. These may include the potential loss of years of child support, child health insurance, respite child care, joint decision-making on important matters affecting the child, and positive bonding that might occur between the child and the other parent. You must also look at the benefits. These might include protecting your child from a parent who is a proven domestic abuser or child sex offender, or gaining the hope of a more peaceful, happy childhood. Sometimes a child support award does not go away, and the person whose parental rights have been terminated remains liable for these payments, along with medical coverage and reimbursement, until the child becomes an adult.