What to Know About the Termination of Parental Rights in Alabama

No one wants to talk about it, but there are times when the Alabama courts may have to step in and terminate an individual’s parental rights. The courts may terminate these rights if the parent fails to provide a safe environment or support the child. These situations are uncommon, but they can devastate those facing the possibility of this outcome. Find out what you need to know if you are threatened with the termination of your parental rights in Alabama.

What Does a Termination of Parental Rights Mean?

Unfortunately, if a parent cannot care or provide for their child, the Alabama courts can order a termination of their parental rights. After that, the parent loses all rights to raise the child. The parent does not have the right to contact the child through mail, phone, or the internet. The loss of rights also extends to certain information about the child, meaning the parent can no longer access educational or medical records.

What Are the Grounds for Termination?

A parent might terminate these rights either voluntarily or involuntarily. The court will make a decision based on the child’s best interest.

With a voluntary termination, one parent willingly signs over their rights. If the court grants this request, the termination will end the relationship between the child and the parent. There are many reasons why a parent chooses to terminate their parental rights, such as:

  • They cannot care for their child.
  • They want another individual to adopt the child.
  • They want to stop paying support.

With this request, the parent who wants to terminate their rights must prove to the court that this option is in the child’s best interest.

On the other hand, involuntary termination is reserved for only the most serious cases in the state. Alabama courts can terminate parental rights on several grounds, including:

  • Long-term substance or alcohol addiction of the parent
  • Long-term emotional or mental illness of the parent
  • Incidents of neglect
  • Abandonment of the child
  • Failure to support the child
  • Long-term felony incarceration of the parent
  • Incidents of physical or sexual abuse

With these cases, the Department of Human Resources (DHR) will be involved in these situations. They must present clear and convincing evidence that severing a parent’s rights is in the child’s best interests. This evidence needs to show that the parent is unwilling or unable to care for the child and that they have not attempted to rectify the situation. There is often no alternative other than to dissolve these parental rights.

Despite the evidence, parents can challenge the findings of the DHR with the help of an experienced family law attorney.

Get Assistance from a Family Law Attorney in Alabama

If you face a situation where you could lose your parental rights, you must act quickly. All cases are different, with individual circumstances surrounding these events. Contacting an Alabama family lawyer can help you understand your legal options.

With over 55 years of combined experience focusing on family law services, The Hankey Law Firm is here to help with these complicated parental rights issues. Our attorneys provide personalized representation to the residents of Cullman County, Blount County, Winston County, Madison County, Morgan County, and everywhere else throughout Alabama. Contact us or call us at (256)-736-8744 to schedule your confidential consultation today.