Parents have both legal rights and responsibilities in North Carolina. When termination of parental rights in sought, a person can lose the rights given to parents with regards to their child. This is a serious matter, and will only be granted in situations defined in North Carolina’s statutes.

Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

North Carolina law lays out several circumstances under which a termination of parental rights may be granted:

  • The parent abused or neglected the child
  • A noncustodial parent failed to pay child support without justification for a period of one year or more
  • A father of a child born out of wedlock failed to legitimate the child
  • The parent is incapable of providing proper care for the child
  • The parent willfully abandoned the child
  • Other reasons set out by North Carolina law

A termination of parental rights will cut off a parent’s right to seek custody or visitation of their child. It will also cut off their responsibility for paying child support.

Who Can Bring a Termination of Parental Rights Case

Only certain parties can bring a termination of parental rights petition before the court. The child’s parent can file a petition against the other parent. The child’s guardian, presumptive adoptive parent, or a social services agency can also file the petition.

A person with whom the child has lived for two consecutive years or more can also file the petition. This could satisfy the requirement in the case of stepparent adoption.

A person can attempt to terminate their own parental rights. However, if a stepparent wants to adopt a child, the child’s other parent can consent to the adoption and have their own parental rights terminated.

Best Interests of the Child

A court will only grant a termination of parental rights if it is the best interests of the child. The court will look at many factors to make this decision, including the age of the child, their relationship with the parent, and the relationship with the proposed adoptive parent or guardian.

Before you file a petition to terminate parental rights, consult with a family law attorney. You should be sure you know the legal significance of this action and have an attorney evaluate your case to see if there are sufficient grounds to bring the case before the court.

King Law Offices is a full-service law firm with an outstanding team of professionals who work diligently, creatively, and compassionately on behalf of our clients each day.  We serve the Upstate of South Carolina and Western North Carolina.  Call 888-748-KING (5464) today for a consultation with one of our dedicated family law attorneys.

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