- For Attorneys
Parents do not cease to be parents when there is a divorce or separation between them. The ongoing obligations of a parent to provide for the emotional and physical well-being of a child only ends with the emancipation of the child, or the death of a parent or child, or the formal termination of parental rights. Termination of parental rights is a court order that severs the rights, powers, privileges, immunities, duties and obligations between a parent and child. A termination of parental rights may be voluntary or involuntary. Even if the statutory grounds for termination of parental rights are established, the court need not terminate parental rights if such action is not in the childs best interests.
The parents or either parent or the surviving parent who desire to relinquish parental rights to any natural or adopted child and thus make the child available for adoption or re-adoption, may petition the family court of the circuit in which they or he or she resides, or of the circuit in which the child resides, or was born, for the entry of a judgment of termination of parental rights.
The petition shall be verified and shall be substantially in such form as may be prescribed by the judge or senior judge of the family court. The petition may be filed at any time following the mother's 6th month of pregnancy, provided that no judgment may be entered upon a petition until after the birth of the child; the petitioner or petitioners have filed a written reaffirmation of their desires as expressed in the petition and the petitioner or petitioners have been given not less than 10 days notice of a proposal for the entry of judgment and an opportunity to be heard in connection with the proposal.