Can You Terminate Your Ex's Parental Rights?

If you find yourself in a nasty divorce or a custody battle, is it possible to terminate your ex's parental rights? The answer might surprise you.

Termination of parental rights occurs when a court order is issued that permanently ends all legal and financial responsibility between a child and their parent. Once the order has been issued, the parent loses all rights to custody and visitation. They lose the ability to parent and make decisions as a guardian would. Their duty to their child ends, permanently.

Involuntary Terminations

Each state has its own set of laws regarding the termination of parental rights. When these rights are ended without the consent or want of the parent, it is referred to as the involuntary termination of parental rights. If your ex is guilty of any of the following, you can move for the state to terminate your ex's parental rights:

  1. Sexual abuse
  2. Chronic or severe neglect or abuse
  3. Abandonment
  4. A long-term mental illness, mental deficiency, or alcohol or drug addiction
  5. Failure to maintain or support contact with the child

In some states, your ex's parental rights can be terminated if they are convicted of felonies or have committed a violent crime against you, the child, or another family member. In order for their rights to be terminated, legal action must be taken and a court case must be won.

Voluntary Terminations

What if your ex is willing to end their parental rights? In this case, the need for a court case that proves the parent's unfit status is not always necessary. Proceedings vary per state, but if your ex is ready to voluntarily terminate their parental rights, the task becomes as simple as completing and filing the proper paperwork.

Reversing the Termination of Parental Rights

The majority of states in the US do not allow parental rights to be reinstated after they have been terminated. But there are always exceptions to this rule. For example, if the termination of rights leads to the child requiring foster placement and a home as not been found, the parent has the right to file a petition and show their ability to be a fit parent.

You can terminate your ex's parental rights whether they are willing or unwilling to cooperate. Consider contacting a local legal expert who deals with child custody cases. They will be able to offer valuable insight regarding the likelihood of and steps needed to terminate your ex's parental rights.