Every parent retains constitutional legal rights and responsibilities for their child in North Carolina unless this relationship is terminated. Termination of parental rights means that a person’s rights as a parent are taken away by the Courts. This terminates the parent-child relationship.
A petition to terminate a parent’s rights can be filed by a parent, guardian, family member, or the Department of Social Services in the county where the child resides. This is known as Termination of Parental Rights in North Carolina.
The Department of Social Services may file a petition to terminate a parent’s rights if they find there to be abuse, neglect, or drug or alcohol dependency. Additionally, a parent, guardian, or family member may file a petition to terminate a parent’s rights. Termination of parental rights is a very serious action, and therefore, grounds must exist under N.C.G.S. §7B-1111. One or more of the following grounds must exist and be proven by the petitioner at trial:
- Abuse or neglect of the child
- Leaving the child in foster care for more than a year
- Failure to pay child support after being ordered by a court to do so
- Failure of a father to establish paternity
- Abandonment for six months or more
- Committing a violent felony
- Terminated parental rights of another child
- Child being conceived as a result of sexual assault.
Even if one or more of these grounds exist and are proven at trial, a judge will still consider the best interest of the child.
If you believe grounds exist to terminate a parent’s right in relation to your child, or a child you are a guardian over, you should speak with a family law attorney as there are many legal implications to terminating a parent’s rights in North Carolina.
If you are interested in filing a petition for termination of parental rights in North Carolina, we are here to help. Contact King Law at 888-748-KING (5464) for a consultation. We have offices located across western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina. Our attorneys are here to serve you and help navigate this journey you are on.