How are Parental Rights Terminated?

In Pennsylvania, there are two types of termination of parental rights that exist – voluntary and involuntary. In both cases, when these rights are terminated, it is as though the child was never born to that parent. Voluntary termination, as the name suggests, occurs when a parent voluntarily gives up his or her rights to a child. This is not uncommon in cases where another party wishes to adopt the child and the parent is no longer involved in that child’s life. Voluntarily terminating these rights means the parent would no longer be obligated to support the child in any way.

Involuntary termination of parental rights, however, is vastly different. For parental rights to be terminated under these circumstances, without the consent of the parent, one of the following must apply:

  1. The parent shows a “sense of purpose” in giving up his or her rights, or refused or failed to perform parental duties for the past six months.
  1. There is evidence of repeated and continued incapacity, neglect, abuse that left the child without adequate or proper care and the parent refuses to address or fix the situation.
  1. The parent is only the presumptive father of the child, but not the natural father.
  1. The identities and whereabouts of the child’s parents are unknown, cannot be found through diligent searches, and have not claimed the child within three months of him or her being found.
  1. The child in question is a newborn and the parent knows of the child, but does not reside with him or her, has not married the other parent, and has not made an effort to maintain contact with the child for at least four months.
  1. The parent of the child is the father of the child through rape or incest.
  1. The child was removed from his or her parents’ care for over a year and the conditions that prompted this removal still exist.
  1. The child has been living out of the home for at least six months due to certain conditions that have still not been remedied, and the termination of parental rights would serve the best interests of the child.
  1. The child’s parent was convicted of criminal homicide, aggravated assault, or an attempt of either of those criminal offenses.

If the parent’s case to terminate the rights of the other parent are based on one of these grounds, the court might consider granting an involuntary termination of parental rights.

Terminating Parental Rights in Pennsylvania

At O’Malley Law Office, LLC, our skilled family law attorneys in Clark Summit understand that complicated legal matters deserve compassion. We will guide you through this sensitive matter and help you achieve the results that best protect you and your family. Our legal team is backed by more than 80 years of combined legal experience and we will ensure it benefits you.

Contact our office today at (570) 391-0866 to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team.


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