When to Pursue Legal Termination of Parental Rights in North Carolina

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If you are a single parent or a hopeful adoptive parent in North Carolina, you may be wondering how to pursue the legal termination of parental rights for a child in your care. The best interest of the child will be carefully considered by the court system in cases involving the termination of parental rights, as this is a permanent and legally binding decision.

When to Pursue Legal Termination of Parental Rights in North Carolina

Here are some of the scenarios in which the termination of parental rights is considered:

  • Abandonment: This includes situations where the father fails to legitimize a child born out of wedlock, as well as situations where a parent willfully leaves a child in foster care or an alternate placement for twelve or more months.
  • Abuse: This could include physical, mental, emotional or sexual abuse as deemed by the court.
  • Neglect: This could include the failure to pay child support for a year or more, despite being able to pay it. Also, if a parent cannot care for a child due to substance abuse, intellectual disability, mental illness or other factors.

Before granting any termination of parental rights, the judge will likely consider the age of the child, the relationship between parent and child, and the relationship between the child and the proposed adoptive parent or guardian. Termination of parental rights can also occur when a parent voluntarily agrees to terminate. Once termination of parental rights has occurred, they are no longer able to pursue custody or visitation rights for the child in question, and they are no longer obligated to pay child support.