Terminating your rights as a parent is a big decision that you should not take lightly. It severs the legal bond between a parent and a child to pave the way for a child to be adopted by another. Sometimes, the process is an involuntary one; even if it’s voluntary, you should always consult an experienced family law attorney to help with the process. If you are a parent who needs assistance in terminating your parental rights or those of another parent, the Nashville family law attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC can help you determine your options. We understand the complexities and emotions involved in a potential termination of parental rights, and we work closely with our clients to make sure the court takes into account their interests and their children’s interest when making this critical decision.
Terminating Parental Rights in Tennessee
Terminating a person’s parental rights ultimately ends the legal relationship between a parent and a child. By doing so, it opens the pathway to allow another person to adopt the child, such as another family member, a stepparent, or an adoptive parent. But sometimes, termination of parental rights is involuntary, and it’s up to the court to decide. If someone, such as a grandparent or another parent, is petitioning to remove the parent’s rights, they must prove that termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child. Some common reasons for loss of rights include:
Evidence of child abuse or neglect
Abandonment by the parent
Failure to provide support or maintain contact with the child for at least six months
The parent has a long history of substance abuse
Incarceration for specific violent crimes
The Termination Process
According to Tennessee law, the process begins by the prospective adoptive parent or parents filing a petition with the court. The petition will include:
The child’s name, age, and current residence
The facts surrounding the basis of your request
A verified statement showing the putative father registry has been consulted within ten days of the filing. The statement should state whether there exists any type claim on the registry to the paternity of the child.
Describe how the parental rights have been terminated (by surrender, consent, or another method)
The medical and social history of the child and his/her biological family
Once the court approves the petition, the parent will no longer have the legal obligation of care for the child. Not only does this mean the parent no longer is obligated to pay child support, but he/she gives up the right to visitation, and no longer has the right to have further contact with the child.
Remember, termination of parental rights should be a final resort. It will only be approved if it’s in the best interest of the child. If you are facing these proceedings, you should speak with an experienced family lawyer to see what legal options are available to you. Nashville family lawyers Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC have been handling family legal matters throughout Middle Tennessee for decades. We understand the court system, and we know how severe these cases can be. We will treat your case with the sensitivity and personal attention it deserves.
Contact Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC Today
Do not handle this on your own. This is a serious situation and it’s important to know what will happen if a parent’s rights are terminated. If you are facing termination of your parental rights, now is the time to act. Contact Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC soon for more information.