Grounds For Terminating Paternal Rights
A person may seek to terminate parental rights of an individual for the following reasons:
- Drug or alcohol abuse.
- Domestic abuse.
- Mental health issues.
- Failure to maintain normal and healthy parent-child relationship over specified amount of time.
Steps To Terminating Paternal Rights
Anyone wishing for instructions on the termination process can find the necessary forms on the Maricopa County website. Severance of parental rights is always an emotional and complicated process, so the services of a lawyer are essential.
Evidence from both sides will be used in the court’s ruling regarding the child(ren). The burden of proof will be on the petitioner who is pursuing the termination. A lawyer can help with filing the paperwork and assisting the petitioner in gathering supporting evidence.
Petitioners are required to take the following steps in Arizona:
1. File Petition For Termination Of Parent-Child(ren) Relationship
This petition will need to prove that the petitioner shows the best interest in the child’s welfare. A clear explanation of why the termination is requested must be included. The petitioner must also designate who will perform the social study required by Title 8-536.
2. Obtain An Order From The Court To Set Initial Hearing
The court may dismiss the case if they do not find an adequate reason for termination after reviewing the initial paperwork. The petitioner is then allowed to re-file the paperwork. An initial hearing will be ordered when the court does not dismiss the case.
3. Obtain Notice Of Initial Hearing
This notice will include the following: time, date, place and location of the initial hearing. Any other essential information will be provided by the clerk.
4. Gather Necessary Paperwork
The petitioner must make copies of the petition and any other information that concerns the hearing and involved parties.
5. Serve Paperwork
The petitioner is then required to serve paperwork to all necessary parties. This distribution must happen at least 10 days ahead of the initial hearing for residents of Arizona. 30 days advance is needed for individuals outside of Arizona.
6. Attend Initial Hearing
At the hearing, the judge will listen to the presented evidence for termination.
How To Voluntarily Terminate Paternal Rights
Voluntarily terminating parental rights is also referred to as severance. The common reason for this action is adoption. A consent form will be filled out by the terminating parent and it must include the following:
- Terminating parent’s name, date of birth, current address and relationship to child.
- The child’s name, date of birth and last known address.
- The name and address of the individual or agency that will take over the child’s rights.
- Statement that recognizes the repercussions of this action.
- Additional statement acknowledging the understanding that relinquished rights are irreversible unless granted coercion of fraud.
- Final statement that recognizes that the relinquishing parent has read and understands Title 8-114 and has not received direct or indirect compensation.
Voluntarily Vs Involuntarily Termination
Any parent can decide to voluntarily terminate their parental rights in the state of Arizona. A non-custodial parent can also terminate their rights, voluntarily. A single parent with full legal decision-making rights can marry an individual wishing to adopt the child(ren). Any parent who wants to give their child up for adoption can also terminate their rights.
A motion for parental rights to be terminated must be made to an Arizona court based on a variety of reasons.
Need Expert Witness Services In Scottsdale?
The High Desert Family Law Group should be your first choice when you need the best divorce lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix, Arizona. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation.