As a parent, one of your greatest fears may be the idea of having your parental rights terminated. While not a common occurrence, parental rights can be terminated in Oakland County or Metro Detroit.
This termination can take place either under the Michigan Adoption Code or the Michigan Juvenile Code. The Court will thoroughly consider the decision and will only do so if adoption is imminent or it would be of great harm to the child to continue allowing parental rights. You can’t simply choose to abandon your parental rights to avoid responsibilities such as child support.
Termination of Rights Under the Adoption Code
In this case, the rights of a parent are being terminated so that a child can be adopted. This can be accomplished by consent, but consent does not mean that the process is easy or cheap.
When adoption is being sought by a step-parent, it can either be by consent or be contested. A contested adoption is a bit more difficult. In that case, the parent whose rights are to be terminated must have not substantially paid support and not substantially contacted the child for two years. Sending a birthday card or paying $20 in support during the two years will likely not be considered “substantial” for payment or contact. Without these conditions being met, the step-parent can only adopt with consent.
Termination of Rights Under the Juvenile Code
The Michigan Juvenile Code allows for the termination of parental rights in the case of child abuse or neglect. This case is often brought by Children’s Protective Services in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, but can be brought by others who believe the parent should not have the right to be involved in the child’s life.
There is a significant burden of proof required for this, and the decision is not made lightly. Some examples of when involuntary termination of rights may be considered are if the parent has been deemed unfit, has harmed the child, has been imprisoned, or has abandoned the child.
Often the Court will give a parent the chance to retain their parental rights by participating in programs or services that are meant to ease the concerns of the court. If the parent is not able to do so, there is a good chance they will face termination of their rights. This is certainly not a situation you would want to face alone. If facing termination of your rights, you will need an aggressive attorney on your side to protect your rights and keep your family together.
Factors to be Considered
When considering whether to terminate any parental rights, the Court will consider what is in the best interest of the child. Determining what is in a child’s best interest can be complicated and the court may look at, among other things:
- The relationship between the child and the parent
- The ability of the parent to provide a safe home
- The mental and physical needs of the child
- Any other factor the court determines appropriate
I am Facing the Termination of My Parental Rights, What Should I Do?
The most important first step to protecting your rights as a parent is to have an experienced family law attorney on your side. Nothing is more important than keeping your family together, and you do not want to be worried about whether your lawyer has what it takes to help you. At The Kronzek Firm, our attorneys are prepared to help you through the obstacles of child custody. We have proven results in Oakland County and all around Michigan. Contact us today at 248-479-6200 for a free consultation!