Posts Tagged ‘guardianship’

Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights in Mississippi

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

Adoption is a huge step in the lives of both the child being adopted and the adoptive parents. The child loses one family and gains another. The adoptive parents’ family grows, as does their responsibility and commitment to another life. However, to have a legal adoption, there must first be a termination of the birth parents’ parental rights. A termination of parental rights (TPR) has severe and permanent consequences for a biological parent; essentially, once their parental rights have been terminated, the child is no longer theirs.

A TPR is commenced when a petition is filed by any interested party, be it a relative, a family friend, or even an agency that is holding custody of the child or that has been made aware of circumstances that are cause for concern for the safety and well being of the child. The child is then appointed a guardian ad litem, whose role it is to protect the best interests of the child – the main consideration in a custody decision. Much like divorce, there are several grounds recognized in Mississippi for a termination of parental rights.

These grounds include:

A serious mental illness or physical setback that prevents the parent from providing adequate care for the child, even with assistance;

An addiction to drugs or alcohol, which the parent fails to seek help in overcoming;

An unwillingness or inability to provide necessary food, clothing, shelter, and/or medical care for the child;

A failure to reasonably visit or communicate with the child;

A deterioration of the parent-child relationship due to abuse and/or neglect; and

A criminal conviction of any of a long list of crimes against the child (or any other child).

Once the termination is complete, then an interested party may proceed with an adoption petition. If that party is not a relative or a stepparent, a home study will be conducted by the Department of Human Services to determine if the petitioners are fit to adopt, and if the adoption is in the child’s best interest.

While the decision to approve a TPR is largely the judge’s choice and highly subjective, if you have the means and the concern for the child, you can seek for that termination with relatively high confidence. The child’s best interests will be well-served between your concern and the presence of well-trained legal professionals, such as a guardian ad litem and a judge. If you have a reasonable belief that a child needs your help, and you are willing to give your help, there is a way to do it that will likely have a satisfactory outcome for the child’s well-being.

A decision as life-changing as seeking a Termination of Parental Rights (T.P.R.) and a subsequent adoption is always extremely stressful, and often, speaking with someone who has expertise in the matter is necessary. You likely have questions about whether a guardianship or permanent custody case is better under your specific circumstances, and we are equipped with the ability to If you need advice on how best to proceed with an adoption, or if you are a parent who would like to know how to protect yourself against false allegations, call the Law Office of Matthew Poole, and we will be happy to provide you with a free consultation.

Matthew Poole (601) 573-7429