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Termination of Parental Rights

Family Lawyers in Foley Protecting You & Your Children

In Alabama, there is a presumption that the best interests of a child are served when the child is in the custody of a natural parent. This supposition can be overcome only when there is a voluntary forfeiture of the right to custody or there is clear and convincing evidence that it is in the child’s best interests to permanently terminate a parent’s custody. In other words, parental rights can be terminated voluntarily or involuntarily by the courts.

A juvenile court in Alabama has the exclusive original jurisdiction over proceedings concerning termination of parental rights. If such a court makes a finding from clear and convincing evidence that the parent or parents of a child are unwilling or unable to discharge their responsibilities for and to the child, or that the condition or conduct of the parents makes them unable to care for the child properly and that the condition or conduct is not likely to change in the near future, the court may terminate the parent’s parental rights.

Alabama Code § 12-15-319 codifies the factors the court may consider in determining whether to terminate parental rights:

  • Abandonment of the child
  • If the parent is convicted of a felony
  • Child abuse, maltreatment, neglect, or torture
  • If the parents are unable to financially care for the child
  • If the parents consume drugs or alcohol in excess, rendering them unable to care for the child

Why You Need a Foley Family Law Attorney for Terminating Parental Rights

Termination of parental rights is an extremely drastic measure and it is imperative that the parent whose rights are subject to termination receive adequate notice to prepare his or her defense, be informed of their right to be represented by legal counsel, and if such parent is an indigent, be appointed legal counsel. Notwithstanding whether the relinquishment of parental rights is voluntary or not, there must be a hearing in the juvenile court in connection with the petition to terminate parental rights. Further, even if the parent whose rights are subject to termination is incarcerated, due process requires that he or she be fully represented by counsel at such hearing. The personal appearance of the incarcerated parent at such hearing is not necessary.

Contact Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana for Strong Representation

Termination of parental rights, whether voluntary or involuntary, is a complex procedure. If you are facing a situation where your parental rights are subject to termination or you are seeking to bring a petition to terminate another’s parental rights, please contact our experienced family lawyers in Foley for legal advice on your matter.

To schedule your free case evaluation, contact us today at (251) 262-2279.

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