How Can a Father Prevent His Parental Rights From Being Terminated in California?
A parent may also have rights terminated, either by voluntary relinquishment or judicial termination. A judicial termination requires proof that the parent is unfit and/or poses a threat of harm to the child. The court may order termination of the parent-child relationship if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the parent engaged in conduct or knowingly placed the child with persons who engaged in conduct which endangers the physical or emotional well-being of the child, or the parent is convicted an a child abuse offense. A termination of parental rights voids any rights and obligations toward the child. The parent will no longer have rights to custody or visitation and will no longer owe a duty of support.
In a proceeding to terminate a father's parental rights, the father must be given notice and a chance to appear at the hearing. It will be a matter of subjective determination for the court, based on all the circumstances involved. He may present evidence of his fitness, such as letters from his parole officer, sponsor, and 12-step meeting attendance sheets, among others. The overall determining factor for the court is the best interests of the child. We suggest he consult with a local attorney who can review all the facts and documents involved.
The following is a CA statute:
7664. (a) If, after the inquiry, the natural father is identified
to the satisfaction of the court, or if more than one man is
identified as a possible father, each shall be given notice of the
proceeding in accordance with Section 7666, unless he has been served
with a written notice alleging that he is or could be the natural
father of the child to be adopted or placed or relinquished for
adoption and has failed to bring an action pursuant to subdivision
(c) of Section 7630 to declare the existence of the father and child
relationship within 30 days after service of the notice or the birth
of the child, whichever is later. If any of them fails to appear or,
if appearing, fails to claim parental rights, his parental rights
with reference to the child shall be terminated.
(b) If the natural father or a man representing himself to be the
natural father claims parental rights, the court shall determine if
he is the father. The court shall then determine if it is in the best
interest of the child that the father retain his parental rights, or
that an adoption of the child be allowed to proceed. The court, in
making that determination, may consider all relevant evidence,
including the efforts made by the father to obtain custody, the age
and prior placement of the child, and the effects of a change of
placement on the child. If the court finds that it is in the best
interest of the child that the father should be allowed to retain his
parental rights, it shall order that his consent is necessary for an
adoption. If the court finds that the man claiming parental rights
is not the father, or that if he is the father it is in the child's
best interest that an adoption be allowed to proceed, it shall order
that that person's consent is not required for an adoption. This
finding terminates all parental rights and responsibilities with
respect to the child. Section 3041 does not apply to a proceeding
under this chapter.
(c) Nothing in this part changes the rights of a presumed father
under Section 7611.