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Termination of Parental Rights

Termination of parental rights may be voluntary or involuntary. If parents decide to place their children for adoption, it is necessary to terminate their parental rights. If the parental rights are being involuntarily terminated, the court must show:

  • The parents are unfit by clear and convincing evidence
  • Termination of parental rights is the in the child’s best interest

Arizona law lays out the grounds and procedures for terminating parental rights. It is vital to retain counsel in order to protect your rights.

Scottsdale Termination of Parental Rights Attorney

I currently handle a wide range of child custody matters in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and the area of Maricopa County. Termination of parental rights is a serious matter. It is important to obtain detailed information about your parental rights and clear advice on the pros and cons of relinquishing your parental rights. I am here to answer all of your questions about parental rights.


Parental Rights Termination / Dependencey Information Center


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What are the grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights?

In Arizona, the courts only involuntarily terminate parental rights in extreme situations. The child would have to be in serious emotional or physical danger in order to start proceedings to terminate parental rights. The most common ground to base an involuntary termination action is unfitness of the parent. A parent is deemed unfit if any of the following conditions are present:

  • Severe or chronic abuse or neglect
  • Abandonment of the child
  • Long-term illness or deficiency of the parent
  • Long-term alcohol or drug induced incapacity of the parent
  • Abuse or neglect of other children in the household
  • Felony conviction or incarceration
  • Failure to establish paternity
  • Murder or manslaughter of a sibling child
  • Felony assault of child or sibling
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Failure of Reasonable Efforts

Most of the reasons are thought to be automatically in the best interest of the child. If a child is being abused or neglected then Arizona courts want to get the child into a stable safe environment as soon as possible.


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Who can file an action for the termination of parental rights?

Under Arizona law, any person or agency with a legitimate interest in the welfare of a child can file an action providing they have sufficient grounds to base their claim. Some common people and agencies that petition for termination of parental rights are:

  • Relatives
  • Foster parents
  • Physicians/nurses
  • Arizona Child Protective Services
  • Privately licensed child welfare agency

In the majority of case, people call CPS because they suspect abuse and neglect. In the case of doctors and some other health care workers, it is required for them to report suspected abuse to the appropriate authorities.


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What circumstances are not grounds for termination?

Under Arizona law, failure to maintain contact and failure to provide support are the main circumstances where it would be improper to find grounds for termination.

In divorce cases especially, some parties want to terminate parental rights because a parent does not pay child support or the parent does not adhere to the visitation schedule. Under Arizona law, failure to pay child support and failure to visit the child is not sufficient grounds for a termination of parental rights proceeding.


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What is a dependency hearing?

dependency hearing is a court proceeding involving a minor, typically in cases of abuse or neglect. Arizona Child Protective Services (CPS) is generally involved in dependency hearings. The first step is to remove the child from the parents and place the child in protective custody. CPS then conducts an investigation to determine whether it is safer to return the child to the parents or to find an alternative place for the child to live.

The court makes a finding on whether the allegations of abuse and neglect are substantiated by the evidence. If the court does not find abuse and neglect, the child is released back to his or her parents. If the court does find abuse and neglect, CPS will create a plan in the best interest of the child.


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What are the effects of terminating parental rights?

The basic result of a termination suit is that the parent has no legal obligation or responsibility for the child. The parent no longer has legal authority to make any decisions concerning the child such as medical treatment decisions. The parent also no longer has any responsibility to provide for the needs of the child such as paying for education and necessities.

A child typically has two parents. It is possible for one parent’s parental rights to be relinquished without affecting the parental rights of the other parent. If the rights of both parents are terminated, the state of Arizona assumes legal custody of the child along with the responsibility of placing the child up for adoption or an alternative guardianship relationship.

It is possible to have parental rights re-instated. If the child has not been placed in a reasonable amount of time, the parent can file a petition with the court to reinstate the parental rights if the parent can provide a safe environment for the child.


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Resources

Adoption.com– resource for all things related to adoption from surrogates to international and domestic adoption

Termination of Parental Rights in Arizona – Legal forms that can be used in the termination process


Daly Law Firm, PLLC - Phoenix Parental Rights Termination Lawyer

It is best to get legal advice if you are thinking of relinquishing parental rights or have an involuntary termination proceeding against you. You need an experienced Scottsdale family lawyer familiar with the local court system. The Daly Law Firm has the knowledge and experience to help you successfully get through the termination process.

If you are going through a termination of parental rights court proceeding in the Phoenix, Scottsdale, Maricopa County area, don’t hesitate to call me at (480) 607-8308 for a free consultation about your termination case.

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