Termination Parental Rights There for You When You Need It the Most

Termination of Parental Rights Lawyer in Salt Lake City

The rights of parents to nurture and raise their children are deeply embedded in the history and culture of Western Civilization. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond doubt as an enduring American tradition. Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972).

Accordingly, as a Constitutional protection, the United States Supreme Court has held that parents have a “fundamental liberty interest in the care, custody, and management of their child[ren]”. Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U.S. 745 (1982)

However, just as any of our “fundamental rights”, they are not absolute. The state also has what’s called an important government interest in protecting children. When these two interests collide, the state may move in and terminate a parent’s rights.

There Are Two Ways to Terminate a Parent’s Rights in Utah

Voluntarily Termination

This is most commonly seen in adoption cases. The scenario usually goes along these lines – Mom and dad have a child and either never get married or get divorced, etc. But one way or another they split up and separate far and wide. Mom takes her child with her and, years down the road, she finds herself married to another man, and they start having a family of their own. In many cases, husband and wife would like to adopt mother’s child. There are a number of reasons a stepparent would want to adopt a child of a spouse, but this article’s focus is on termination of parental rights, so we will leave the details of adoption for another time.

The easiest way to adopt a child of the spouse is to simply get the biological parent’s consent. To say that is the easiest way does not, by any means, mean it will be easy. The biological parent, for whatever reason, may not consent to the adoption.

There are, of course, good reasons for the biological parent to simply consent to the adoption. When the biological parent consents to the adoption, he is giving up all his legal parental rights in the child or children. That also means he is giving up all his legal obligations, i.e. child support. As someone famous, either Gandhi or Spiderman once said, with great rights come great responsibility.

Involuntary Termination

The second way to terminate parental rights is to remove the child from the parent(s) involuntarily. This usually, comes in the form of the Division of Child and Family Services (DCFS) who initially removes the child from a home on a finding that there is some form of abuse, neglect, endangerment or other factors.

Because of the Constitutional rights parents have with their children, discussed at the beginning, the steps DCFS has to take to terminate parental rights are stringent, to say the least. The Division can initially remove a child from a dangerous environment, say, in the face of drug use, physical abuse and the like. That, in and of itself, does not terminate a parent’s rights. The state must give wide latitude in helping the parents recover, go through therapy, or take every reasonable measure to put the child back into the home of the natural parents and in a safe environment.

However, if the Division determines that the parent is unfit or incompetent and on a showing that there is a substantial likelihood that the parent will not be capable of exercising proper and effective parental care, the Division will petition the court to terminate the parent’s rights.

You can count on Christensen Law to provide skilled and compassionate legal services. Contact us by calling (801) 890-5109 today.

Client Testimonials

  • I will never be able to thank them enough. Best law firm ever.

    “For the first time in 10 plus years of fighting for my rights I finally won because of the hard working lawyers (Steve) and all the other great people at Christensen Law.”

    - Michaela H.
  • I would recommend this firm to anyone and plenty of people I know have used them.

    “I hired this firm for a very complicated and intense divorce and custody. Not only was Steve the most professional attorney I have ever dealt with he answered my calls on weekends and after hours most times.”

    - Rebecca Z.
  • Steve has made history with our case, fighting a nearly impossible case and won

    “I am so pleased with the results. Steve has made history with our case, fighting a nearly impossible case and won.”

    - Holley P.
  • I cannot recommend and thank them enough!

    “Steve and his team are truly the best, not just lawyers but the best people I have ever dealt with in my life. I cannot recommend and thank them enough!”

    - Christian J.
  • Steve has been great to work with!

    “I believe Steve's role in my reconciliation with my wife was crucial. His ability to explain the law and each ramification to me before moving forward was very important.”

    - Former Client
/

Why Work With Us?

Get the Experience & Support You Deserve
  • Strategic Legal Advocacy with Proven Results
  • Create Creative Solutions for Each Case
  • Willing to Go the Extra Mile
  • Dedicated & Experienced Team of Attorneys
A Team That Cares