Written by Jonathan Breeden
When you have a child, you have a right to be part of your child’s life. But as a mother or father, you also have certain obligations. This means a lot of things for different families, but it generally means providing financial support.
North Carolina recognizes there are times when people are not capable of being a stable parent. In these situations, your parental rights may be voluntarily or involuntarily terminated by the court. For example, if you sign away your parental rights, you no longer have any rights to your child. It also includes removing child support obligations.
If you have questions about terminating parental rights in North Carolina, do not hesitate to contact an experienced child custody and support attorney at Breeden Law Office.
With over 20 years experience and local offices in Raleigh, Garner, Angier, and Smithfield, attorney Jonathan Breeden has helped countless individuals successfully resolve child support and parental rights issues.
For your parental rights to be terminated, there must be clear and convincing evidence to do so, and that termination is in your child’s best interests.
Grounds for termination of parental rights include:
The court must also review whether termination of your parental rights is in the child’s best interests. For instance, if the termination is to enable another adult to adopt the child, then the court often finds it is in the child’s best interests. But, if you are found to be a physical danger or harmful to the child’s well-being, the court is more likely to terminate your rights.
For parental rights to be terminated, a judge must approve. This is not something you or another parent can do without involving the courts.
You may file a petition asking the judge to terminate your child’s other parent’s rights. The other parent can file a petition to ask for your rights to be terminated. Social services, a licensed child placement agency, your child’s guardian, a guardian ad litem, or a potential adoptive parent can file a petition to terminate your parental rights. However, you cannot file a petition for the court to terminate your own rights.
Also, termination is not something you can do to avoid your responsibilities. You may not voluntarily terminate your parental rights for any reason, particularly to avoid paying child support.
In North Carolina, terminating parental rights completely end all legal relationships between a parent and child. As a parent, you will no longer be able to contact your child. You cannot call, email, or visit. You do not get to see your child on their birthday or holidays.
Termination also ends your legal responsibilities to take care of your child. Any child support obligation is lifted, and it is as if you and the child are strangers.
At Breeden Law Office, we understand there are times when it’s necessary to severe a relationship between a parent and child. We can explain all your options, including a possible child support modification and when it’s best to terminate parental rights.
To schedule an initial evaluation, contact us today at (919) 661-4970.