How to Terminate My Ex’s Parental Rights in North Carolina

Written by Jonathan Breeden

February 11, 2020

Are you at a breaking point with your ex?

Not every parent takes their responsibilities seriously. And some adults are not capable of being a parent. As a result, sometimes the children suffer significant physical or psychological harm.

If you want to terminate your ex’s parental rights, you need to contact a custody lawyer to discuss your options. Whatever your situation, an attorney will explain the process of asking the court to permanently end your ex’s rights, and whether you are likely to obtain the outcome you want.

With offices in Raleigh, Garner, Angier, and Smithfield, Breeden Law Office can help you find a solution that works for you and your family. Call (919) 205-5254 today or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

First File the Petition

If you want your ex’s parental rights terminated, you must file a petition in a court with appropriate jurisdiction. You usually file in the county where you and your child live, or you may file in the county where the other parent lives. It is best to speak with an attorney about the appropriate place to file the petition. If you file somewhere without proper jurisdiction, the case will likely be dismissed.

Once you file the petition, you must provide service of process to the other parent. Providing a service of process is not as simple as handing your ex the paperwork or mailing it to them. You may need to pay the county sheriff’s office to serve your ex or hire a private process server.

Dealing with Your Ex’s Response

Once you serve your ex with the termination petition, they have 30 days to respond. They also have the right to hire an attorney and will be appointed an attorney if they financially qualify.

If your child’s other parent wants to keep their parental rights, their response will likely defend themselves. However, if your child’s other parent agrees, their response may say so or choose not to file a response.

Attending the Parent Rights Hearing

If your ex agrees or chooses not to respond, the court may order a straightforward termination of their parental rights. However, if your ex responded, then you must show that terminating their rights is appropriate.

First, you must establish grounds to terminate your ex’s parental rights.

Legal grounds for termination of parental rights include, but are not limited to:

  • Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Abandonment
  • Murder or manslaughter of another child
  • Sexual assault that caused the conception of your child

If you are unsure of whether or not you have grounds to terminate parental rights, speak with a lawyer. An attorney can explain the law and analyze your situation. If you cannot currently establish a valid termination of your ex’s rights, then filing a petition may not be in your family’s best interests.

Second, you need to demonstrate that terminating your ex’s parental rights is in your child’s best interests. A judge will look at numerous factors, like your child’s age, the relationship between the other parent and your child, whether the termination will improve the situation, whether the situation is likely to change, and the likelihood of someone adopting your child.

This is often the most difficult part of a termination case, even when the legal grounds are clear.

What’s the Impact of a Terminating Parental Rights

If you succeed in having your ex’s parental rights terminated, they are entirely revoked. Therefore, they won’t have a right to contact with your son or daughter or to make any decisions for them.

However, their obligations toward the child also end. This includes child support. As a result, you will be fully responsible for your child’s care without any assistance from their other parent.

A Child Custody Lawyer Can Help

This situation is not for every parent. But if you are interested in terminating your ex’s parental rights, call attorney Jonathan Breeden. He will thoroughly review the law and your situation to determine the likelihood of a successful petition.

If terminating your ex’s parental rights is not an option or not your best move, attorney Breeden will explain your other options. For example, an emergency custody order or modifying your custody agreement may be better alternatives.

Call Breeden Law Office at (919) 205-5254, or reach out online to schedule an initial case consultation.


Divorce In North Carolina: What You Need To Know

A book by Jonathan Breeden