Termination of Parental Rights
If you are seeking or facing termination of parental rights, we can help.
In some extreme cases involving children, there may be a need to pursue the termination of parental rights, which is the legal severing of a parent’s rights, privileges, and responsibilities regarding his or her child. Termination of a parent’s rights frees the child to be adopted by someone else.
We typically see these types of cases involving the Department of Social Services where abuse or neglect of children has been alleged. It is imperative that you consult with an experienced attorney if you are facing a termination of parental rights case. Once a court terminates your rights, there are very few options for reversing such an Order, therefore you will need an experienced attorney helping you navigate the legal process and helping to present your case effectively to the Court throughout.
Termination of parental rights may be the best course of action as a result of a variety of different situations, including but not limited to:
- Threatening of Life, Safety, or Well-Being
- Egregious Conduct
- Aggravated Child Abuse, Sexual Battery or Sexual Abuse, Chronic Abuse
- Murder or Involuntary Manslaughter
- Domestic Violence
South Carolina Code § 20-7-1572(6) also provides that the Family Court may order termination of parental rights if:
The parent has a diagnosable condition unlikely to change within a reasonable time including, but not limited to, alcohol or drug addiction, mental deficiency, mental illness, or extreme physical incapacity, and the condition makes the parent unlikely to provide minimally acceptable care of the child. [S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-1572(6).
If a child has been removed from the parents’ care, under South Carolina Code § 20-7-1572(4), the Family Court may order the termination of parental rights if:
The Child has lived outside of the home of either parent for a period of six months, and during that time the parent has willfully failed to support the child. Failure to support means that the parent has filed to make a material contribution to the child’s care… The court may consider all relevant circumstances in determining whether or not the parent has willfully failed to support the child, including requests for support by the custodian and the ability of the parent to provide support.
In most of these cases involving the termination of parental rights, a Guardian Ad Litem will be appointed to conduct an investigation, to protect the rights of the child involved, and to help the Court determine what is in that child’s best interest.
If you are involved in a case concerning the termination of parental rights, you should consult an attorney immediately, and you are welcome to contact The Stevens Firm for help with your case today.