Termination of Parental Rights in Florida
Biological parents automatically have legal parental rights for their child. These rights are primarily decision-making legal rights that affects the child’s life, being able to spend time with their child, and deciding who can be around the child. In some cases, these rights may face termination under specific circumstances. Parents are also legally responsible for their children having health and medical care, shelter, food, and financial support.
What Could Cause A Parent to Lose His or Her Parental Rights?
There are several reasons why a parent can lose his/her parental rights. To begin with, a parent can voluntarily choose to legally terminate his or her parental rights. Biological parents may also collectively terminate their parental rights over a child if the prospective adoptive parents’ legally consent to adoption of that child. Other than these two reasons, the following are the other reasons why parental rights may be terminated in Florida:
- Child Abandonment
The legal definition of abandonment is essentially when a parent did not make an any effort at establishing a lasting relationship between the child and the parent. This is not just being a bad parent. This basically means taking off to live in another place without the child and dumping the child on the grandparents or an aunt and uncle to live with them for an extensive period of time. This legal definition also includes whether the parent failed in making a substantial financial contribution to the child’s cost of upbringing during this extended absence from his or her life.
In summary, if a parent drops his/her child at a relative’s home and vanishes for a sufficient period of time, he/she may be found guilty of child abandonment. Also, a parent who leaves the child and who cannot be found for at least 60 days may have his/her parental rights terminated by the court.
- Threatening of the Child’s Well-Being
Any actions (or inactions) that are seriously threatening the physical health or possibly the mental health of the child may be considered by the court deciding whether a parent should lose his/her parental rights.
- Child Abuse or Neglect
Egregious conduct, such as very serious child neglect, physical child abuse, child abandonment, or other outrageous, flagrant, or deplorable conduct that the parent committed, or allows to happen to the child, are considered
- Parent Incarceration
The courts may also determine that the termination of someone’s parental rights is appropriate when that person is incarcerated for a serious crime such as murder. This situation may be more likely happen if the parent remains incarcerated for a significant time period of the child’s life and the crime was committed against the other parent or a sibling.
- An Adjudicated Dependent Child
If the parents of an adjudicated dependent will not comply with their dependency case for an extended period of time, the judge may terminate the parents’ rights.
- The Involuntary Removal of Other Children
When there is the involuntary removal of other children in the home from one of the parents for a very extended period of time, the judge may also terminate the parental rights of that particular parent towards of all his or her children.
How to Terminate Parental Rights in Florida
To terminate parental rights, there are certain procedures that you must adhere to according to Florida law. One thing you must do is file a petition normally in dependency court unless it is an adoption. The petition must have specific facts, including why parental rights termination is sought. There will be a court hearing on the petition eventually in order to receive testimony and evidence supportive of why this parental rights termination request should be granted. The court must write down findings of fact that are determined by clear and convincing evidence which is strong in showing the legal grounds for terminating parental rights. As a practical matter, in family law courts in Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice, Florida, it has been my experience that this simply essential never occurs unless it involves an adoption.
How a Sarasota Family Law Attorney Can Help
While the steps to terminate parental rights in Florida may seem straightforward and simple to you initially, it tends to be a complex, daunting, long, and very hard process. When you work with an experienced dependency or adoption law attorney, you can have more confidence that your parental rights termination request may actually have a chance of being be granted eventually. This type of lawyer will request relevant information from you, dependency court case managers, and other relevant professionals concerning your case. This lawyer will also consult with you, prepare your case along with evidence, present it, and fight the case in court for you.
For more information about how to terminate parental rights, please do not contact the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell because we do not do dependency law cases or adoptions. This blog is for informational purposes only.
For nearly 24 years, Divorce Attorney Matthew Z. Martell has been providing top-notch legal representation in divorce cases in the Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, and Venice, FL. You will be in great hands working with the divorce attorney from this law firm if you have a divorce in Sarasota County or Manatee County. But we do not take on cases where a parent is seeking to terminate the parental rights of the other parent. As a practical matter, it just does not happen in family law court in Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice unless it involves a consensual adoption. Representing the parent who is voluntarily terminating their parental rights for a consensual adoption is an area of law which we have been involved in on a couple of occasions in the past. However, we no longer handle such cases. Please contact us at (941) 556-7020 if you have a divorce in Sarasota, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, or Venice, Florida and want excellent legal representation. Thank you!