Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Discusses the Termination of Parental Rights

The word “termination” invokes feelings of seriousness and finality. When you pair the word “termination” with “parental rights”, you describe the most extreme action that a court can take regarding the relationship between a child and a parent. Termination of parental rights is not something that courts like to do, but rather something which must be done in certain cases because of the severity of harm that a child has endured, and in other cases because it provides a child with stability and certainty about who their permanent caregivers are.

Because termination of parental rights is a serious and permanent matter, the party that seeks to terminate the relationship, which is often an agency, must prove by clear and convincing evidence that termination of the rights of one or both of a child’s biological parents serves that child’s best interest. There are a variety of circumstances that can lead to the termination of a parent’s rights, including abuse, abandonment, and a failure of one or both parents to address certain issues that prevent them from fulfilling their parental responsibilities.

Abandonment or desertion of a child can result in the termination or parental rights, and it can happen more quickly than you might think, because of the developmental needs of children of different ages. If a parent does not have contact with a child who is under three years old for six months or more, or does not have contact with a child over three years old for a year or more, that parent’s rights may be terminated. Children, especially young children, need certainty, and parents who essentially walk away from their children and remain apart from them cannot expect to be able to come back and parent their children at some future time of their choosing. Termination proceedings in the case of abandonment or desertion enable a child to find a permanent home with an extended family member or an adoptive family.

Repeated instances of child abuse and/or crimes against children can also lead to the termination of parental rights. The effects of abuse, especially repeated abuse, on children are undeniable. If a crime has occurred, criminal charges may be filed around the same time as the petition to terminate parental rights.

Addiction can seriously undermine a parent’s ability to fulfill their parental duties, including providing a safe and consistent home environment and responding to their child’s everyday needs. Because children need stability and consistency, termination of parental rights proceedings may be initiated in situations where there is evidence that a parent’s long-term addiction is interfering with their parental duties. In some cases, the removal of their children from their care serves as a catalyst for positive and lasting change in the life of a parent who is an addict, and the parent is able to pursue recovery and bring their parenting back to where it needs to be in time for the child to successfully return to their care and remain there. In other cases, parents attempt recovery, sometimes multiple times, and are unable to resume parenting. In these cases, termination is likely to occur on a timetable that is consistent with the child’s age and developmental need for permanency.

Termination of parental rights is a matter of the utmost concern. Whether you are facing termination of your parental rights or you are concerned about a child whose parents may be involved in termination proceedings, you could benefit from the assistance of a Mississippi Child Custody Attorney. Call Attorney Matthew S. Poole today, at (601) 573-7429 to arrange a free, initial consultation.

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Mississippi Child Custody Attorney Discusses the Termination of Parental Rights
Mississippi Child Custody Attorney discusses the termination of parental rights.