Termination of Parental Rights in Alpharetta

People often cherish their roles as parents, but not always. Sometimes a child comes at the wrong time, or with the wrong person. Giving up parental rights in those circumstances could be the best thing for the parent and the child.

Sometimes a parent is unable to care for a child despite their desire to do so. In those circumstances, a court could involuntarily terminate a parent’s rights.

In either case, if terminating parental rights is something you are considering, get advice from a local child custody attorney. You deserve compassionate and experienced legal counsel to help you understand the implications of termination of parental rights in Alpharetta.

Understanding Parental Rights

It is important to understand what parental rights are and how a person acquires parental rights. A biological relationship does not necessarily confer parental rights. A person could have parental rights over a child with whom they have no biological connection.

A person with parental rights has custody rights, meaning the right to live with, make decisions for, and raise a child. Parental rights also carry an obligation to support the child financially, but a person could have the obligation to pay support even if they do not have custody rights.

Who Has Parental Rights?

A mother who gives birth to a child is a legal parent to the child and automatically has parental rights. If the mother is married to a man when she gives birth, her husband is presumed to be the child’s father and he also has full parental rights.

If the woman is unmarried when she gives birth or is married to a woman, the mother’s partner must take steps to establish their parental rights and responsibilities by either legitimizing or adopting the child. However, if a child has living biological parents, their parental rights must be terminated before an Alpharetta adoption can be finalized.

Terminating Parental Rights Voluntarily

An unexpected or unwanted pregnancy can cause severe distress. Parents in that position often consider giving their child up for adoption. When a biological parent works with an adoption agency to place their child, the agency typically handles the paperwork and formalities of surrendering rights.

Sometimes, a child lives with one of their parents whose spouse or partner wants to adopt the child. In that case, the non-custodial parent could surrender their parental rights and allow the child’s co-parent and their partner to assume full legal rights to the child. In other cases, a family member might be caring for the child and want to formalize the relationship with an adoption.

When a parent is surrendering their parental rights so that a family member or stepparent can adopt the child, they may need to file a petition in court. A parent considering surrendering their rights should speak with an Alpharetta attorney about the correct procedure to follow.

Involuntary Termination of Rights

Sometimes mental health challenges, addiction, chronic homelessness, or another social issue prevents a parent from providing a child with proper care. These situations can sometimes lead to the involuntary termination of a parent’s rights.

The Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) can file a petition in Juvenile Court for termination of a parent’s rights. According to the Official Code of Georgia §15-11-94, a parent’s rights could be terminated when the child has been abused, neglected, or abandoned. When a parent wants to maintain their parental rights, DFCS usually works with them to correct the problem and only petitions for a termination after a parent has failed to adequately address the situation.

Termination of parental rights is a serious step that should not be taken lightly or without the guidance of an Alpharetta attorney.

Consult an Alpharetta Attorney About Parental Rights Issues

Whether you are considering giving up a child for adoption or are fighting DFCS for the right to raise your child, you need sound legal advice. Consult a termination of parental rights lawyer in Alpharetta as soon as possible.

At the Atlanta Divorce Law Group, our legal professionals can make sure you understand the situation and all its implications. Get in touch now to speak with a member of our team.

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