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      Why Can an Individual Have Their Parental Rights Terminated in Tennessee?

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      Why Can an Individual Have Their Parental Rights Terminated in Tennessee?

      When a child is born, the parents assume a legal responsibility to care for and provide for the child’s needs. Some basic needs a parent is responsible for include providing shelter, food, clothing, and medical care, ensuring they receive an education, and keeping them safe from harm.

      However, often, parents are not suitably equipped to handle the stresses that accompany raising a child, and there becomes a need to have their parental rights terminated. In many cases, parents’ rights are terminated due to chronic drug or alcohol use, criminal behavior, physical or sexual abuse, or severe mental health issues.

      If you are considering adopting a child, both biological parents must have their parental rights terminated before the process can begin.

      If you would like to learn more about the termination of parental rights, contact our law office and ask to schedule a meeting with one of our highly experienced adoption lawyers, who will gladly answer your questions.

      What Are the Legal Grounds For Termination of Parental Rights?

      Several legal grounds can be used to terminate a parent’s legal rights. Some of the most common include but are not limited to:

      • The parent’s continued failure to visit the child or provide support.
      • The parent has been convicted on the charge of committing severe child abuse against any child.
      • The child has been removed from the home by the court for at least 6 months for neglect or abuse, during which time the parent has done nothing to rectify the situation that caused removal.
      • The parent has been convicted of attempted first or second-degree murder of the child’s other parent.
      • The parent has been criminally convicted or civilly liable for the death of the other child’s other parent.
      • The parent has been convicted of a crime and sentenced to 10 or more years in prison, and the child is under 8 years old at the time of sentencing.
      • The parent was convicted of a rape which led to the child’s conception.
      • The parent has been found mentally incompetent and, therefore, cannot adequately care for the child.
      • The parent has been convicted of commercial sex trafficking.
      • The parent has been convicted of sex trafficking of children after July 1, 2015.
      • The parent has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for criminal conduct committed against the child, their sibling, or any other child in the home.
      • The parent is believed to be the father but has done nothing to support or have any meaningful interaction with their child.

      If you are still trying to understand the legal grounds that can lead to a parent’s rights being terminated, it is best to speak with a knowledgeable attorney who can provide more information.

      Termination of parental rights can be a complex and time-consuming process and should be handled by a lawyer with in-depth experience in family law cases.

      Who Can Request That a Parent’s Rights Be Terminated?

      Tennessee law stipulates that only certain individuals or entities may request that a parent’s rights be terminated. These individuals or entities include:

      • Prospective adoptive parents
      • Extended family members caring for the child who wishes to adopt them.
      • The child’s Guardian Ad Litem.
      • A licensed child placement agency that has physical custody of the child.
      • The Department of Children’s Services has the legal right to file a petition with the court requesting that parental rights be terminated.

      However, even though the above-listed individuals or entities have the right to petition to terminate parental rights, they must still present accepted legal grounds to the court demonstrating a need for the request.

      The family court judge will always rule on what they believe to be in the child’s best interest. The judge will examine the biological parent’s ability to provide for the basic needs of the child, as well as how terminating a parent’s rights would affect their relationship with extended family members.

      In addition, if the child is at least 12 years old, the court may also consider their feelings on the matter. If the child is twelve or older, the court might also consider their opinion.

      What is the Difference Between Voluntary Surrender and Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights?

      Although there are many reasons why a parent may have their rights terminated, there are two separate categories: voluntary surrender and involuntary termination.

      Voluntary Surrender

      A parent may conclude that it is best for the child if the court terminates their parental rights. Often, parents make this difficult and emotional decision so that their child may be adopted by another individual who can provide for them in ways the biological parent is unable to do.

      When parents voluntarily surrender their rights, they must appear in court before a judge and sign a voluntary surrender form acknowledging their decision.

       Involuntary Termination

      Involuntary termination occurs when the court determines there is sufficient evidence to order that the individual’s parental rights should be terminated without their consent. However, state law dictates that any parent who is facing having their rights terminated has the right to a trial where they have the opportunity to present evidence as to why they should be allowed to retain those rights.

      Of course, there must be clear and convincing evidence based on the grounds of Tennessee law regarding the termination of parental rights.

      Why Should I Hire Your Family Law Attorneys to Assist Me With My Legal Needs?

      If you are considering adopting a child but need more information about the laws regarding the termination of parental rights, you must hire an experienced attorney. Terminating a parent’s legal rights is not something that the family court takes lightly, and you must prove your case.

      Our legal team has comprehensive experience handling parental rights termination cases and would be glad to discuss your case. Our law firm recognizes the emotional toll for family members who are considering adopting a related child and how terminating a parent’s rights can affect all parties in the long term.

      For these reasons, our law firm strives to treat all parties involved with the respect and compassion they deserve.

      Contact Garner Law Firm, PLLC of Sumner County, at our Hendersonville, TN law offices by calling 615-502-4336 and ask to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

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