Terminating parental rights is serious and irreversible. This legal action is sometimes voluntary, such as giving a baby up for adoption, and sometimes involuntary, such as keeping an abusive parent away from a child.
When one party asks to relinquish parental rights as part of a divorce, the other party has typically badgered the other spouse to give up their rights. If this is the case, you need to speak to a seasoned family law attorney right away.
We’ll walk through both involuntary and voluntary terminations in this blog. If you have any questions about the legal relationship between parent and child, contact the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC.
The ramifications of parental rights termination include the following:
- You have no legal say in where the child lives, their medical care, their education, or any other aspect of their life.
- You have no legal right to visitation.
- Any contact with the child is only possible with the other parent’s permission (respondents in an order of protection do not have this possibility).
- The parent-child relationship does not exist.
- The parent no longer is required to pay child support.
- The parent is removed from the child’s birth certificate.
- The child can be adopted without the parent’s permission.
A 2021 New York General Assembly bill that provided for the possibility of post-termination visitation was vetoed by then-Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Grounds for Involuntary Termination
In New York, the state or another individual can seek to terminate parental rights if it is in the best interests of the child.
The legal grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights are as follows:
- The parent has intentionally abandoned the child for six months or more
- The parent has a severe mental health disability that leaves them unable to care for the child
- The child has experienced frequent and severe abuse at the parent’s hands
- The child is perpetually neglected by the parent
- The parent is incarcerated and declines to take any role in caring for the child
- The parent was convicted of any of the following crimes in connection with their children: murder, attempted murder, involuntary manslaughter, assault, or aggravated assault
The other parent, stepparents, grandparents, foster parents, and other interested parties can petition the court. In termination proceedings, the court appoints an attorney for the child. The petitioner must attend court to persuade the judge to their position. Instead of going to court on your own, the chances for success improve when a strategic and experienced attorney presents the argument to the judge.
Child Protective Services (CPS) can temporarily remove a child from a parent while investigating reports of abuse or neglect. Removing a child without a court order or parental consent is only done in emergency situations. If the CPS finds evidence of severe or repeated abuse, permanent termination of parental rights is possible. New York law requires clear and convincing evidence to sever a parent’s relationship with their child.
Grounds for Voluntary Termination
Biological parents typically seek to voluntarily terminate their parental rights so their child to be adopted by a stepparent or relative. If a parent is giving up their rights to avoid paying child support, the courts will categorically deny their petition. New York courts generally hesitate to end a parent’s legal rights and responsibilities. This position is true even when there is a stepparent willing to step in as the second parent legal parent.
The wishes of children who are 14 or older are also considered. They are permitted to maintain a connection with the biological parent whose rights were terminated.
Seek Legal Advice on Parental Rights Termination
Before deciding to proceed with asking the court to end your legal parent-child relationship – or attempting to push out the other parent – talk to us. We can walk through every potential issue. We also can evaluate whether you have a case that could be accepted by the courts.
Lean into our insights, advice, and legal guidance so you can make the best decision for all concerned.
Schedule a consultation by calling (845) 605-4330 or reaching out online.