Will I still have rights to my grandson if my son's parental rights are terminated?

Full Question:

My minor grand-son's mother has petitioned my son to have his parental rights terminated so her husband can adopt him. My son has had very little contact with his son from the age of two, partly because the son's mother has made it as difficult as possible and because my son has had mental health issues. He also has not voluntarily payed support but support has been garnished. I realize this probably constitutes abandonment and so my question is, does my son have a leg to stand on? He does not want to allow the adoption for several reasons. Also I, the child's grandmother have been involved in the child's life as much as the mother will allow me and I am afraid if my son does allow this termination of his rights I will no longer be able to see my grandson whom I love dearly. I have been told that grandparents have no rights in Idaho. My son would like to begin paying child support and having visitation with his son again.We are low income and cannot afford a lawyer so is there anything we can do?
04/28/2009   |   Category: Paternity ยป Termination ...   |   State: Idaho   |   #16266


I am unable to give an opinion on the likelihood of an outcome. It will be a matter of interpretation for the court to determine whether the parental rights should be terminated due to abandonment. There are no specific time periods or guidelines for determining abandonment. Mental illness is also a ground for terminating parental rights in Idaho. The main consideration is the best interests of the child. This is a subjective determination made by the court based on all the facts and circumstances involved.

In Idaho, a court may award visitation rights to a grandparent if visitation is in the child's best interest. However, adoption cuts off all visitation rights of grandparents.

The following is portion of an Idaho statute governing termination of parental rights:


(1) The court may grant an order terminating the relationship where it finds that termination of parental rights is in the best interests of the child and that one (1) or more of the following conditions exist:
(a) The parent has abandoned the child.
(b) The parent has neglected or abused the child.
(c) The presumptive parent is not the biological parent of the child.
(d) The parent is unable to discharge parental responsibilities and such inability will continue for a prolonged indeterminate period and will be injurious to the health, morals or well-being of the child.
(e) The parent has been incarcerated and is likely to remain incarcerated for a substantial period of time during the child's minority.
(2) The court may grant an order terminating the relationship and may rebuttably presume that such termination of parental rights is in the best interests of the child where:
(a) The parent caused the child to be conceived as a result of rape, incest, lewd conduct with a minor child under the age of sixteen (16) years, or sexual abuse of a child under the age of sixteen (16) years, as defined in sections 18-6101, 18-1508, 18-1506 and 18-6602, Idaho Code;
(b) The parent has subjected the child to torture, chronic abuse or sexual abuse, has committed murder or intentionally killed the other parent of the child, has committed murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child or has aided, abetted, conspired or solicited to commit such murder or voluntary manslaughter, and/or has committed battery which resulted in serious bodily injury to a child; or
(c) The court determines the child to be an abandoned infant, except in a parental termination action brought by one (1) parent against another parent.
(3) The court may grant an order terminating the relationship if termination is found to be in the best interest of the parent and child.
(4) The court may grant an order terminating the relationship where a consent to termination in the manner and form prescribed by this chapter has been filed by the parent(s) of the child in conjunction with a petition for adoption initiated by the person or persons proposing to adopt the child, or where the consent to termination has been filed by a licensed adoption agency, no subsequent hearing on the merits of the petition shall be held.

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