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Termination of parental rights: an overview

The idea that permanent alienation between a parent and child can be judicially ordered likely seems chilling and even unfathomable to most people.

It happens, though. Imagine a case where a child is being repeatedly abused by a parent even after multiple interventions by state authorities. What if one or both parents have long-term substance abuse challenges? What if they can’t consistently provide their child with food, clothing and other life essentials?

Such realities (and, sometimes, even mere allegations) can invoke the oversight and enforcement power of a family law court. Judges routinely weigh in on family matters relevant to custody, visitation and enforcement of various child-centric orders.

They sometimes also consider the outer-edge subject matter of parental rights to a child being terminated.

Notably, and as underscored in one online overview discussing the termination of parental rights, there is sometimes no involuntary aspect featured in a petition. Indeed, it is common for parents to willingly agree to sever their rights concerning a child who will be given up for adoption.

An involuntary termination of rights is another matter, though. Competing and sharply contrastive points of view often emerge in such a matter.

Each state has specific statutory provisions and relevant case law governing the termination of parental rights. New Jersey residents with questions or concerns regarding the subject might reasonably turn to a proven family law attorney who routinely provides broad-based representation to valued and diverse clients across the state.



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