How Are Parental Rights Terminated in Arizona?
If the parent won’t consent to adoption, 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.
Termination of parental rights will typically end the obligation for child support at that point, but not erase liability for past due support. Often, relinquishment of parental rights will not be allowed if done for the purpose of avoiding child support payments. If voluntary termination is petitioned for, the mother will be required to receive notice and may exopress her lack of consent at the hearing. The answer will be a matter of determination for the court, based on all the circumstances involved, such as proof of paternity. The overall consideration for the court is the best interests of the child. We suggest you contact a local attorney who can review all the facts and documents involved.
Please see the following AZ statutes:
8-533. Petition; who may file; grounds
A. Any person or agency that has a legitimate interest in the welfare of a child, including, but not limited to, a relative, a foster parent, a physician, the department of economic security or a private licensed child welfare agency, may file a petition for the termination of the parent-child relationship alleging grounds contained in subsection B of this section.
B. Evidence sufficient to justify the termination of the parent-child relationship shall include any one of the following, and in considering any of the following grounds, the court shall also consider the best interests of the child:
1. That the parent has abandoned the child.
2. That the parent has neglected or wilfully abused a child. This abuse includes serious physical or emotional injury or situations in which the parent knew or reasonably should have known that a person was abusing or neglecting a child.
3. That the parent is unable to discharge parental responsibilities because of mental illness, mental deficiency or a history of chronic abuse of dangerous drugs, controlled substances or alcohol and there are reasonable grounds to believe that the condition will continue for a prolonged indeterminate period.
4. That the parent is deprived of civil liberties due to the conviction of a felony if the felony of which that parent was convicted is of such nature as to prove the unfitness of that parent to have future custody and control of the child, including murder of another child of the parent, manslaughter of another child of the parent or aiding or abetting or attempting, conspiring or soliciting to commit murder or manslaughter of another child of the parent, or if the sentence of that parent is of such length that the child will be deprived of a normal home for a period of years.
5. That the potential father failed to file a paternity action within thirty days of completion of service of notice as prescribed in section 8-106, subsection G.
6. That the putative father failed to file a notice of claim of paternity as prescribed in section 8-106.01.
7. That the parents have relinquished their rights to a child to an agency or have consented to the adoption.
8. That the child is being cared for in an out-of-home placement under the supervision of the juvenile court, the division or a licensed child welfare agency, that the agency responsible for the care of the child has made a diligent effort to provide appropriate reunification services and that one of the following circumstances exists:
(a) The child has been in an out-of-home placement for a cumulative total period of nine months or longer pursuant to court order or voluntary placement pursuant to section 8-806 and the parent has substantially neglected or wilfully refused to remedy the circumstances that cause the child to be in an out-of-home placement.
(b) The child who is under three years of age has been in an out-of-home placement for a cumulative total period of six months or longer pursuant to court order and the parent has substantially neglected or wilfully refused to remedy the circumstances that cause the child to be in an out-of-home placement, including refusal to participate in reunification services offered by the department.
(c) The child has been in an out-of-home placement for a cumulative total period of fifteen months or longer pursuant to court order or voluntary placement pursuant to section 8-806, the parent has been unable to remedy the circumstances that cause the child to be in an out-of-home placement and there is a substantial likelihood that the parent will not be capable of exercising proper and effective parental care and control in the near future.
9. That the identity of the parent is unknown and continues to be unknown following three months of diligent efforts to identify and locate the parent.
10. That the parent has had parental rights to another child terminated within the preceding two years for the same cause and is currently unable to discharge parental responsibilities due to the same cause.
11. That all of the following are true:
(a) The child was cared for in an out-of-home placement pursuant to court order.
(b) The agency responsible for the care of the child made diligent efforts to provide appropriate reunification services.
(c) The child, pursuant to court order, was returned to the legal custody of the parent from whom the child had been removed.
(d) Within eighteen months after the child was returned, pursuant to court order, the child was removed from that parent's legal custody, the child is being cared for in an out-of-home placement under the supervision of the juvenile court, the division or a licensed child welfare agency and the parent is currently unable to discharge parental responsibilities.
C. Evidence considered by the court pursuant to subsection B of this section shall include any substantiated allegations of abuse or neglect committed in another jurisdiction.
D. In considering the grounds for termination prescribed in subsection B, paragraph 8 or 11 of this section, the court shall consider the availability of reunification services to the parent and the participation of the parent in these services.
E. In considering the grounds for termination prescribed in subsection B, paragraph 8 of this section, the court shall not consider the first sixty days of the initial out-of-home placement pursuant to section 8-806 in the cumulative total period.
8-534. Contents of petition
A. The petition for the termination of the parent-child relationship filed pursuant to this article shall include, to the best information or belief of the petitioner:
1. The name and place of residence of the petitioner.
2. The name, sex, date and place of birth and residence of the child.
3. The basis for the court's jurisdiction.
4. The relationship of the petitioner to the child or the fact that no relationship exists.
5. The names, addresses and dates of birth of the parents, if known.
6. The names and addresses of the person having legal custody or guardianship of the person or acting in loco parentis to the child or the organization or authorized agency having legal custody or providing care for the child.
7. The grounds on which termination of the parent-child relationship is sought.
8. The names and addresses of the persons or authorized agency or officer thereof to whom or to which legal custody or guardianship of the person of the child might be transferred.
B. Beginning January 1, 1993, whenever possible the court upon terminating the parental rights of a birth parent in a termination of parental rights proceeding shall obtain from the birth parent a notarized statement granting or withholding consent for the person who is the subject of the termination of parental rights proceeding to review adoption records, if the person is subsequently adopted, when such person is twenty-one years of age or older.
C. A copy of any relinquishment or consent and the notarized consent pursuant to section 8-106, subsection F, if any, previously executed by the parent shall be attached to the petition.