Termination of Parental Rights in Charlotte

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In the state of North Carolina, mothers and fathers have the same rights. This is true even when a child is born out of wedlock. However, in certain circumstances, when a person fails to handle the responsibilities of childcare, their parental rights could be terminated, and their legal connection to their biological child could be totally severed.

Whether you need to revoke the rights of a negligent co-parent or contest the termination of your own parental rights, we are here for you. To find out more about the termination of parental rights in Charlotte, connect with a dedicated child custody attorney now.

Reasons for Terminating Parental Rights

Terminating parental rights and taking away child custody is a severe decision for Charlotte courts to make, and many different factors will influence it. These include:

  • Not paying child support
  • Failing to establish paternity
  • Criminal activity or substance abuse
  • Child abuse, neglect, or endangerment
  • Willfully abandoning a child to foster care for more than one year
  • Physical or mental incapacitation that interferes with properly caring for the child

While some of these factors carry more weight than others, the best interest of the child remains at the heart of every legal issue.

Termination of Rights for Child Neglect

When a parent does not take care of their children, they may be accused of child neglect. This can include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Poor hygiene
  • Not sending the children to school
  • Failing to provide shoes or clothes for the children
  • Lack of a stable schedule, sleep pattern, and home life

Neglect can be proven by gathering evidence such as a child’s medical records and witness testimony from unbiased figures in their lives, like teachers and coaches.

If child abuse and/or neglect are suspected, a petition to terminate parental rights can be filed. The court will carefully assess whether circumstances are changing for the better or if further abuse and neglect is likely to occur in the future.

Process of Terminating Parental Rights

A child’s other parent, guardian, or the Department of Social Services can file a petition with the court to terminate parental rights. The burden of proof is always on the petitioner. This means it is their responsibility to provide clear and convincing evidence as to why the other parent deserves to have their parental rights revoked.

The petition must be filed in the county the child lives in and include detailed supporting evidence. A summons will then be sent to the other parent, who must respond within 30 days, or their rights may be automatically terminated. If they respond, a hearing will be scheduled to address the issues that have been brought up. The court typically schedules a hearing within 90 days of filing the petition.

In some contentious divorces, false allegations are made by one parent in an attempt to alienate the children from the other. In cases like these, it is imperative to respond promptly and with fierce legal support. A Charlotte attorney could help a parent contest the termination of their parental rights.

What Happens When Parental Rights Are Terminated?

Once parental rights are terminated, the parent and the child no longer have a legal connection. This means the parent has no right to visit the child or contact them at all, nor can they make decisions about the child’s life, such as their schooling, medical care, or where they will live.

If a parent is deemed unfit but does not lose their parental rights, they still have visitation rights. Visits may require supervision. It is rare—but possible—for a judge to completely deny visitation rights to an unfit parent.

Reach Out to a Charlotte Attorney To Discuss the Termination of Parental Rights

Whether you are afraid of losing the right to be in your child’s life or need to prove a co-parent is unfit, our experienced team could provide guidance and advocate for your family’s best interests.

No matter what end of the case you find yourself on, maintaining a supportive environment for your child is the most important goal—and we are here to help you achieve it. To access the resources you need regarding the termination of parental rights in Charlotte, contact us today.

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