How do I terminate the parental rights of someone who has disappeared? Every parent of a child has certain fundamental rights and obligations regarding their child. However, some parents may need to have their parental rights terminated when it is no longer in the child’s best interest for the parent to have these rights. Every child deserves to have a stable home that is both safe and nurturing. If a child does not have a home like this, then it may be time to consider terminating parental rights, which is a very serious matter and should only be done when it is absolutely necessary. If there are other alternatives, like counseling, then they should be considered before pursuing a termination of parental rights.
In order to terminate the parental rights of a parent that has disappeared or abandoned their child, a record search must first be completed to check for information on the child, any siblings they may have, and the parent in question. Next, a petition to terminate parental rights by your Birmingham divorce attorney must be filed in court with notice being served soon after. Serving proper notice will be difficult when the parent cannot be located, but diligent efforts must be made to locate the parent and serve notice. Efforts to locate the parent can be made through sending certified mail, searching the internet, or even checking to see if they are imprisoned, but if they cannot be located, notice must be served by publication. Then, a hearing will take place where the judge will ultimately decide whether parental rights will be terminated.
Parental rights have been terminated in many different circumstances, but they all require an official court order that severs the parent-child relationship in the eyes of the law. Terminations can either be done voluntarily or involuntarily. A voluntary termination of parental rights usually occurs when a child is being placed up for adoption through foster care or an adoption agency, or it may be done when a stepparent wishes to adopt their spouse’s child. Involuntary terminations require a judge to consider numerous factors to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to justify terminating the parental rights of one or both parents. The judge will consider whether the child is being cared for or if they are experiencing an unsafe home environment. Situations that have warranted terminations may include physical or emotional abuse, substance abuse, imprisonment, or abandonment. The judge may also look to the parent’s efforts relating to visitation, financial support, or communication with the child.
When a child’s parent disappears, their parental rights will be terminated because Alabama is not required to attempt any sort of reunification or reconciliation when the child has been abandoned. In cases of abandonment, the court will assume that the parent is not capable of being their child’s parent. In fact, if a child has been abandoned for four months in a row, federal law requires that a Termination of Parental Rights Petition be filed within 14 days.
The decision to seek the termination of parental rights is not one that should be made lightly. However, sometimes it is necessary and unavoidable. The overall objective is to ensure that each child’s material needs are being met appropriately and that they are permanently cared for and safe. When a parent disappears or abandons their child, then a termination of parental rights should be sought on behalf of the child’s best interests. A local Prattville divorce attorney can help you with getting a parent’s rights terminated should they have abandoned the children.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, probate, and real estate closings on this website. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply feedback. We appreciate our readers & love to hear from you!