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A family lawyer plays an important role in a parental rights termination case. Other cases handled by him are divorce, custody modifications, guardianship issues, etc. A family lawyer can have his own practice or may work in a partnership firm. They prepare legal documentation and attend court in order to represent their clients. Their primary aim is to resolve the matters through mediation and arbitration by reaching a mutual agreement. Parental Rights Termination cases are also handled by family lawyers. The procedure for parental right termination is complex and is different for each state. An experienced family lawyer helps his clients understand their rights as a parent and how they can do away with them. A family lawyer will represent his client in court and file any necessary paperwork.
In most cases termination of the parental rights take place through the circumstances neglect and abuse procedures. However, the condition for parental rights termination varies with changing situations, and from state to state. Some of the very common conditions are as follows:
- Cases of negligence or abuse by the parents
- Abuse or neglect of other children in the household
- Long-term mental illness or insufficiencies of the parent(s)
- Failure to support or maintain contact with the child
- Engaging the child in criminal activities
- Alcoholic parents or drug-dependant parents whose capacity to take care of their children has been disabled or deficient
Termination of the rights of one parent does not severe the rights of the other parent. If both parents' rights are terminated, the state assumes legal custodianship of the child, including the responsibility to find a secure and permanent placement for the child, either through adoption or guardianship within the least possible time. In the case of adoption, the main principle is the permanent termination of the rights of the biological parents. The biological parent, since they are not forced into adoption, voluntarily agrees to the termination of their parental rights.
On several occasions, the parents decide to give up their child for adoption, for they are no longer in a position to support him or her financially. In step parent adoption cases, the legal parent of the child is the step parent. The step parent becomes the legal parent by the process of adoption. The biological parents of the child lose all parental rights on the child thereafter. If the biological parent gives consent to the step parent adoption, or else if the genetic parent's approval is not mandatory by law, in that case the adoption will be approved, and the rights of the biological parent's will get terminated, as long as the court gives consent to the fact that the adoption would be in the child's best interests.
Whatever may be the circumstances that lead up to parental rights termination, ''best interest of the child'' is the prime priority that is to be considered in any situation. The law of the state always takes care and sees to it that the child rights are not violated and he is in good health and safe. The court takes care and sees to it that the welfare of the child is always safeguarded. The courts always try to keep watch on the child's psychological and physical needs. It also takes precautions to protect the interests of the child of a particular age.
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