Termination of parental rights permanently ends the legal parent-child relationship. Once these rights are terminated, a child may be adopted without parental consent.
Termination of parental rights may be voluntary, based on the informed consent of the parent, or it may be involuntary, a result of court proceedings brought against the parent.
In Arizona, courts will only involuntarily terminate parental rights in extreme situations, such as the child being in serious emotional or physical danger, and the termination of the parental rights is in the best interest of the child.
A parent is deemed unfit if any of the following conditions apply:
- Abandonment of the child
- Sever or chronic abuse or neglect
- Long-term illness or deficiency of the parent
- Long-term alcohol or drug induced incapacity of the parent
- Abuse or neglect of other children in the household
- Felony conviction or incarceration
- Failure to establish paternity
- Murder or manslaughter of a sibling child
- Felony assault of child or sibling
- Sexual Abuse
- Failure of Reasonable Efforts
There are circumstances, however, that are not considered valid grounds for termination. Some parties that have been through a divorce seek to terminate a parent’s rights because they do not pay child support or do not follow the visitation schedule. These are not sufficient grounds for a termination of parent rights proceeding.
If parents decide to place their child or children for adoption, it is considered to be voluntary termination of parental rights.
Under Arizona law, the right to file an action for the termination of parental rights goes to any person or agency with an interest in the welfare of the child. The action can be filed as long as the person taking the action has sufficient grounds to base the claim. The people and agencies that often petition for termination of parental rights are relatives, foster parents, physicians/nurses, Arizona Child Protective Services, and child welfare agencies.
If you are thinking of relinquishing your parent’s rights or have been served with an involuntary termination proceeding order, it is best to get legal advice from a Phoenix Family Law Attorney at the Sampair Group. The experienced child custody attorneys at Sampair represent individuals throughout the valley with locations in Phoenix, Glendale and Mesa.