Every state has options for minors seeking to terminate their biological parents’ parental rights. This meaning that the parents will no longer have any legal say in their child’s lives. Does this mean that any teenager angry at their parents can drag them to court and try and terminate their rights? Absolutely not! These options are in place so that minor’s can get help when they are dealing with unfit parents.
Before any minor attempts to terminate their parent’s rights, they will have to provide proof substantiating the reason for requesting termination.
Long term neglect: this will be hard to prove without much evidence. The minor will have to show substantial proof of neglect on the parent’s part. Again, this proof of burden is placed on the child seeking termination to make sure that this is not just an angry child trying to get back at their parents; there will have to be proof of serious neglect.
Long term alcohol or drug abuse: If a child has been seriously affected by their parent’s alcohol and drug addictions, they might want to seek a termination of parental rights. This is especially true when drugs are involved, as drug addicted parents often engage in illegal activities which can endanger their children. Most of the aforementioned ‘neglect’ of parents stem from these alcohol and drug addictions. Children should not have to pay the cost of losing a happy and healthy childhood because of their parent’s substance abuse issues.
Any kind of physical domestic violence: If physical harm to you or any member of the family that a minor lives with is a possibility, minors should seek help immediately. The first and foremost thing is to get the minor removed from contact with the physically abusive parent. Most cities have some kind of shelter. Kids should not have to experience any kind of physical abuse especially from their own parents. If this is a chronic situation then there are options for a child to seek to have their parents parental rights terminated. Again, this is something that will have to be proven detrimental to the child’s well being and health before any rights will be terminated.
Abandonment: There are those cases where children have been abandoned and seek to terminate their parent’s rights. The worst case scenario is the long term abandoned parent who shows up after years of abandonment and now wants to enforce their parental rights after having no long term relationship with their child. This can be emotionally devastating to a minor.
The reality is the courts take parental rights very seriously. They will not lightly terminate a parent’s rights. On the other hand they recognize that some parents are just not fit for properly taking care of their own children and in fact are detrimental to their own children. In these cases, there are options for terminating parent’s rights however the burden of proof will be on the minor to prove to the courts that the parental rights do indeed warrant termination.
If you or you know someone who is considering terminating their parental rights, deeply ponder how this will affect the children and everyone else involved. Remember that terminating your parental rights is not a quick fix to your perceived problems as a parent.