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Termination of Parental Rights

Termination of Parental Rights Termination of Parental Rights Lawyers Asheville NC family law3 Hooks Law, P.C.

Termination of parental rights is when the rights of a parent are legally recognized as being taken away. The parent is no longer legally the child’s parent or obligated to provide for them in any way. The parent can lose the right to visit or talk with their child, they cannot decide how the child is to be raised and taken care of, and the child can then be adopted by a stepparent without the previous parent’s permission. This form of termination can be voluntary, which states that you agree to terminate your rights as a parent perhaps because it is better for the well-being of the child, the child may have been in foster care for an extended period of time, a stepparent may be interested in adopting the child, or a family member may agree to taking over raising the child. Termination of parental rights can also be involuntary, which means that you do not wish to or agree to surrender your rights as a parent, but the court decides your rights be terminated anyway. There are many steps involved in terminating parental rights that include an investigation and court hearing. The legal reasons a court may decide to terminate ones parental rights are:

  1. Willfully abandoning the child for at least six months preceding the filing of the action;
  2. Abusing or neglecting the juvenile;
  3. Failing to support the child financially;
  4. Being incapable of providing the proper care and supervision of the juvenile such that the juvenile is dependent juvenile as defined by statute;
  5. The parent has willfully left the juvenile in foster care of placement outside the home for more than 12 months without showing to the court that reasonable progress has been made to correct the conditions that led to the juvenile’s removal;
  6. Egregious harm, if the child was badly hurt while in your care;
  7. Absent birth father, which is a father who was not married to the mother at time of birth, not listed on the birth certificate, not involved with the child’s life, not supporting the child, and had not legitimated the child or established paternity;
  8. The parent’s parental rights have been involuntarily terminated to another child;
  9. The parent has been convicted of a serious crime such as murder or voluntary manslaughter. 


It is important to understand that the court system takes parental rights very seriously, along with the constitutionally protected rights of parents.  If grounds for termination exist, the court must then inquire as to the best interests of the child.

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