Terminating Parental Rights
In order to adopt a child in North Carolina, that child must be considered “legally free” for adoption. What that boils down to is this: when a child is born, that child’s parents have constitutionally granted parental rights. In order for that child to be adopted by another person, the child’s biological and legal parent’s rights must be appropriately addressed. In some circumstances, a parent may consent to their parental rights being terminated (for example, a child’s biological father may agree, by voluntarily relinquishing his own parental rights, to the child’s stepfather adopting his child). In other cases, however, the child’s parent either will not agree to the adoption, or cannot be located. In those situations, it is often necessary to involuntarily terminate the parent’s rights before an adoption can proceed. How and when to do that is a complicated question, but Attorney Timothy Heinle has vast experience in this area, and will be happy to answer your questions and to represent you throughout this difficult process.
Generally speaking, in order to involuntarily terminate a person’s parental rights to their child, you will have to convince a court that the parent, through his or her actions or lack thereof, have created (1) grounds under the law to terminate parental rights (including, for example, chronic neglect or failure to support a child), and that (2) it is in the best interests of the child to have those parental rights terminated (including, for example, because the child is bonded to the proposed adoptive parent, or has no relationship with or is in danger with their biological parent). If you have questions regarding the need to terminate someone’s parental rights, or about how a parent’s rights may impact your plans for adoption of a child, please call our office today for a consultation.