Termination of Parental Rights in North Carolina

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When a parent fails to meet the responsibilities of caring for his or her child, a termination of parental rights may occur, meaning that the parent is no longer legally considered the child’s parent. The termination of parental rights is an acknowledgment that a parent has failed in his or her role as a parent in at least one way.

If you are a parent seeking to terminate the parental rights of the other parent of your child or a parent looking to contest termination, you should consult an experienced North Carolina parental rights lawyer from Breeden Law Office immediately.

Call (919) 230-1269 or contact us online.

Ground for the Termination of Parental Rights

Termination of parental rights is a very serious legal action and requires demonstrating to the court that one parent meets the grounds for termination and that revoking their parental rights is in the best interest of the child

There are a number of different reasons that may lead to the termination of parental rights in North Carolina. Some of these include:

  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Failure to pay child support while subject to a court order to pay child support for more than one year
  • Willful abandonment of a child to foster care for more than twelve months
  • The inability to properly care for the child due to a mental or physical incapacity
  • Failure of a father to provide for or acknowledge child born out-of-wedlock
  • Becoming a danger to the child by committing certain felonies

The Process of Terminating Parental Rights in North Carolina

When it becomes clear that a parent cannot care for his or her child, a petition with the county court should be filed. Under North Carolina law, only a child’s other parent, a court-appointed guardian, and the county Department of Social Services can begin the process of terminating parental rights. This begins with filing a petition to terminate parental rights with the court.

In North Carolina, the petition to terminate parental rights must be filed in the county where the child resides or where the agency with custody of the child is located.

The Timeline for Terminating Parental Rights in NC

Once the a petition is filed to terminate parental rights, the court will usually schedule a hearing with in 90 days. However, this proceeding can be continued or rescheduled based on various factors that may come up. In addition, county court schedules, priorities, and dockets will vary by location.

It is best to consult with a local family law attorney about how long it can take to completely move through the process of terminating parental rights.

Filing the Petition and Court Hearing

In filing a petition to terminate rights, the person seeking to revoke the other parent’s rights must provide supporting facts that demonstrate they meet the one or more of the legal ground mentioned above. Keep in mind that unfounded allegations or broad claims of neglect may not be sufficient. Your petition should include as much detailed and credible evidence as possible

After your petition is filed in the appropriate jurisdiction, a summons is sent to the parent and other parties involved. The summons must also be responded to within 30 days, or the other parent’s rights may be terminated. It also details that if the other parent cannot afford a lawyer, one may be appointed if they are found indigent.

Once the other parent responds to the petition, the court will schedule and conduct a hearing to decide the issues raised.

If the petition is agreed upon by the court, the parent and child no longer have a legal relationship. The parent will not be able to visit or contact the child or have a say in the child’s life. When the petition to terminate parental rights succeeds, the parent is legally viewed as a stranger to the child from that point forward.

Contesting the Petition

A parent does have the right to contest termination and tell their side of the story. Some parents may believe that their child has a close emotional attachment to them and they would like to continue a relationship with their child. Others, are forced to defend themselves and their parental rights by refuting the claims made against them by the parent that filed a petition based on false or misleading information about their parenting ability.

As mentioned above, the parent being challenged has 30 days to respond to the petition. If no answer is provided, the court may automatically order the termination.

However, if a parent wants to defend themselves, they must counter the claims that there are grounds to remove their rights and doing so would be in the child’s best interests. It is important to remember that the burden of proof will be on the petitioner to provide “clear and convincing evidence” that parental rights should be revoked.

Those who choose to contest should hire a North Carolina parental rights lawyer with the skill and ability to investigate the facts, talk to the child, point out factual errors in the petition, and appear in court to promote the best interests of a child.

How a North Carolina Parental Rights Lawyer Can Help

If you believe that terminating the other parent’s rights is the best choice for your child and family, a North Carolina parental rights lawyer can be an invaluable resource. In addition, if someone is questioning your ability to be an effective parent, you deserve the chance to defend yourself and protect your relationship.

At Breeden Law office, we know the importance of the issues you are dealing with and have successfully represented both petitioners and those being challenged in termination of parental rights proceedings across North Carolina.  We know the nuances of handling these petitions, especially in Johnston, Wake, and Harnett Counties and what it takes to get the result you and your family need.

With experienced legal representation by your side, you can increase the chances of the court siding with you. We will analyze your situation and present evidence to support your claim. This may mean proving that there are grounds to terminate a parent’s rights and that the termination is in the best interest of your child. We can also present a case that refutes the claims against you, so you can remain in your child’s life.

Call Us to Speak to a North Carolina Termination of Parental Rights Attorney

Since the inception of the Breeden Law Office in 2000, North Carolina termination of parental rights lawyer, Jonathan Breeden has successfully represented countless families going through divorce, custody disputes, adoptions, and a variety of other domestic matters. He works with parents filing to terminate parental rights as well as parents who are fighting to keep their parental rights.

Call an adoption lawyer today at (919) 230-1269 or online for a case consultation that may change your child’s life for the better.

Call Breeden Law Office today:

Call (919) 661-4970

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