Termination of Parental Rights in NC

As a single parent, it can be extremely difficult when your child’s other parent doesn’t put in the same parenting efforts that you do. They don’t visit, they don’t call, and you’re lucky to see even a partial child support payment from them. In this situation, you can’t help but wonder, if terminating their parental rights is something you should explore. At what point does the other parent’s non-involvement begin to actively harm your child? And what are your options, if any? 

North Carolina recognizes the fundamental principle that each parent has the right to parent their child as they see fit. However, a parent forfeits that constitutional right when he or she refuses to take on the responsibilities associated with parenting a child. These responsibilities include contributing to the child’s financial, emotional, educational, and therapeutic needs, and much more. Under certain circumstances, North Carolina allows an interested party to petition to terminate a parent’s parental rights. 

Reasons for Terminating Parental Rights:

In order to terminate parental rights in North Carolina, the Court requires the existence of one or more factors: 

  1. The parent has abused or neglected the child;
  2. The parent has willfully left the child in foster care or placement outside the home for more than twelve (12) months without making reasonable progress to correct the conditions that led to the child’s removal; 
  3. The child has been placed in the custody of a county DSS, and the parent has willfully failed to pay child support for a continuous period of six months when the parent is physically and financially able to do so; 
  4. One parent has custody of the child pursuant to a court order or agreement of the parents, and the other parent for one year has willfully failed, without justification, to pay for the child’s care, support, and education, as required by court order or custody agreement; 
  5. The child was born out of wedlock, and the alleged Father has not established paternity;
  6. The parent is incapable of providing care and supervision for the child;
  7. The parent has willfully abandoned the child for at least six consecutive months immediately preceding the filing of the petition, or the parent has voluntarily abandoned an infant for at least sixty (60) consecutive days immediately preceding the filing of the petition or motion; 
  8. The parent has committed murder or voluntary manslaughter, or has committed felony assault, of another child of the parent or other child residing in the home; 
  9. The parental rights of the parent with respect to another child of the parent have been terminated involuntarily by a court of competent jurisdiction and the parent lacks the ability or willingness to establish a safe home; OR
  10. The parent has been convicted of a sexually related offense that resulted in the conception of the juvenile. 

If one or more of the above grounds are present, the Court additionally requires that the termination of parental rights be in the child’s best interests. There are many different factors that the Court will consider and weigh in determining a child’s best interests, including how such termination of parental rights will affect the child’s developmental needs, the child’s safety, the age of the child, the child’s stability, and much more. 

Morris & Fox Are Here To Help

The attorneys at Morris & Fox are knowledgeable in all the requirements needed to terminate parental rights. If your child’s parent isn’t involved in their life, contact us today to discuss whether terminating his or her parental rights is an option for your family.