Severance

There must be grounds for a termination of parental rights. A Petition for Termination of Parental Relationship must show that the termination is in the child’s best interests and at least one of the following:

1. A parent has abandoned the child.
2. A parent has neglected or willfully abused the child.
3. A parent has mental illness, mental deficiency or history of chronic abuse of dangerous drugs, controlled substances or alcohol. There must be reasonable grounds to believe that the condition will continue for prolonged and indeterminate period.
4. A parent is convicted of a felony. The felony should prove the unfitness of that parent to have future custody and control of the child, or the sentence should be of such length that the child would be deprived of a normal home for a period of years.
5. The potential father failed to file a paternity action within thirty days of completion of service of notice.
6. The father failed to file a Notice of Claim of Paternity.
7. The parents have relinquished their rights to a child to an agency or have consented to the adoption.
8. The child is being cared for in an out of home placement under the supervision of the juvenile court.
9. The identity of the parent is unknown following three months of diligent efforts to identify and locate the parent.
10. The parent has had parental rights to another child terminated within two years for the same cause and cannot currently raise a child.

After the petition has been filed, the Juvenile Court sets an initial hearing to determine whether or not the petition is being contested.

If the Petition is uncontested, the parental rights are terminated. If the Petition is contested, then the Court will hold a Termination Adjudication Hearing. In most instances, the Court appoints a best interest attorney, a Guardian ad Litem, to represent the child’s “best interests.” At the Termination Adjudication Hearing, the Court determines whether at least one of the grounds for termination has been proven and whether the termination is in the child’s best interests.

Department of Child Safety (DCS) and the juvenile court system is a maze. His office has effectively represented hundreds of children and parents to help them navigate through this very difficult and complicated system. Robert has the expertise, the knowledge and the experience to help you deal with DCS and the juvenile court system. He is committed to fight for you. To help you in this most difficult time. Contact Robert A. Dodell, Attorney at Law, directly by email or by calling 480-860-4321 now for a free initial consultation.