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Termination of Parental Rights


When it comes to raising children, parents have significant rights and choices they must make, but not everyone ends up parenting effectively. When it comes to terminating parental obligations, the court is very thorough when deciding who should keep and who should have their parental rights removed. The court seeks the best interest of the child and, under normal circumstances, desires that both parents be involved in the child’s life. However, if one or both is neglecting their duties or adversely affecting their kids, it can be grounds for termination.

Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

Parents have the right to file a petition to willingly give up their rights as parents. It is a difficult processes because the court wants to make sure that the motion is not selfish, but truly for the best interest of the child. Ideally, children should benefit from the support of both parents. However, if one or both parents cannot uphold their obligations, they can forfeit their parental rights.

Parents who voluntarily give up their rights to their child must submit a petition. The court will look at the reasons for wanting to terminate rights and check to see if the change would benefit the child.

Other things the court looks at are:

  • Whether the parent is under the influence or pressure of an alternate party
  • Whether the parent is using drugs, under the influence of medication, or has the ability to make their own decisions
  • How the termination of rights will affect the child(ren)

Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

There are times when a parent might lose their rights involuntarily. The court might deem the parent incapable of taking care of their child, thus forcing them to forfeit their obligations. In other cases, one parent may seek to terminate the other parent’s rights in order to gain sole custody. Again, the court looks at what will help the child the most.

Some instances that will lead to involuntary termination include:

  • Physical or emotional abuse of the child
  • Any form of sexual abuse
  • Parent fails to provide basic necessities, including shelter, food, protection, education, etc.
  • Abandonment of the child, especially over six months
  • If the parent is in jail

What happens after a parent’s rights have been terminated?

In most cases, if one parent has lost their rights to their child, the other parent takes full custody. If both parents lose their rights, the child becomes a subject of the state and is open to adoption. Usually, the court will contact next of kin to take responsibility of the child.

Whether your child’s other parent it attempting to remove your parental rights, or you are fighting to retain your parental rights, contact our experienced Colorado family law attorneys today. We can help review your case and inform you of your legal rights.

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