GROUNDS FOR TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS

HERE ARE THE GROUNDS FOR TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS IN ALABAMA. MOST STATES ARE THE SAME, BUT CHECK WITH YOUR STATE TO MAKE SURE. TO FIND OUT IF YOUR RIGHTS HAVE BEEN TERMINATED, SEE THE MAGISTRATE IN YOUR LOCAL FAMILY COURT OR LOOK IN YOUR CASE FILE. YOU SHOULD BE NOTIFIED OF ANY HEARING TO TERMINATE YOUR RIGHTS.

ALA CODE § 26-18-7  : Alabama Code – Section 26-18-7: GROUNDS FOR TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS; FACTORS CONSIDERED; PRESUMPTION ARISING FROM ABANDONMENT

(a) If the court finds from clear and convincing evidence, competent, material, and relevant in nature, that the parents of a child are unable or unwilling to discharge their responsibilities to and for the child, or that the conduct or condition of the parents is such as to render them unable to properly care for the child and that such conduct or condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, it may terminate the parental rights of the parents. In determining whether or not the parents are unable or unwilling to discharge their responsibilities to and for the child, the court shall consider, and in cases of voluntary relinquishment of parental rights may consider, but not be limited to, the following:

(1) That the parents have abandoned the child, provided that in such cases, proof shall not be required of reasonable efforts to prevent removal or reunite the child with the parents.

(2) Emotional illness, mental illness or mental deficiency of the parent, or excessive use of alcohol or controlled substances, of such duration or nature as to render the parent unable to care for needs of the child.

(3) That the parent has tortured, abused, cruelly beaten, or otherwise maltreated the child, or attempted to torture, abuse, cruelly beat, or otherwise maltreat the child, or the child is in clear and present danger of being thus tortured, abused, cruelly beaten, or otherwise maltreated as evidenced by such treatment of a sibling.

(4) Conviction of and imprisonment for a felony.

(5) Unexplained serious physical injury to the child under such circumstances as would indicate that such injuries resulted from the intentional conduct or willful neglect of the parent.

(6) That reasonable efforts by the Department of Human Resources or licensed public or private child care agencies leading toward the rehabilitation of the parents have failed.

(7) That the parent has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of any of the following:

a. Murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of that parent.

b. Aiding, abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of that parent.

c. A felony assault or abuse which results in serious bodily injury to the surviving child or another child of that parent. The term “serious bodily injury” means bodily injury which involves substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.

(8) That parental rights to a sibling of the child have been involuntarily terminated.

(b) Where a child is not in the physical custody of its parent or parents appointed by the court, the court, in addition to the foregoing, shall also consider, but is not limited to the following:

(1) Failure by the parents to provide for the material needs of the child or to pay a reasonable portion of its support, where the parent is able to do so.

(2) Failure by the parents to maintain regular visits with the child in accordance with a plan devised by the department, or any public or licensed private child care agency, and agreed to by the parent.

(3) Failure by the parents to maintain consistent contact or communication with the child.

(4) Lack of effort by the parent to adjust his or her circumstances to meet the needs of the child in accordance with agreements reached, including agreements reached with local departments of human resources or licensed child-placing agencies, in an administrative review or a judicial review.

(c) In any case where the parents have abandoned a child and such abandonment continues for a period of four months next preceding the filing of the petition, such facts shall constitute a rebuttable presumption that the parents are unable or unwilling to act as parents. Nothing in this subsection is intended to prevent the filing of a petition in an abandonment case prior to the end of the four-month period.

(Acts 1984, No. 84-261, p. 442, §7; Act 97-851, p. 138, §1; Act 98-370, p. 670, §1.)
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6 comments

  1. Bobbijo Riddlebaugh · · Reply

    My children have been taken from me and been split up between two homes in one home where two of my children are placed they are being abused. the courts want to strip my rights on the 28th of march 2013, I have not seen my children since the first week of December 2012, they want to strip my rights because I can not find a job there for I can not get housing though I live with my mother and step father who my children love. I have tried finding work and I have picked up a few temp. jobs but it is very hard to find a job in Charleston WV what can I do to keep my children in my life my babies are my world.

    1. My suggestion is you find a job and file an order before your courtdate for “scheduled visitation”. you can look at an example of a motion on google. Google-
      “motion for scheduled visitation” and just copy it and fill in your information. My other suggestion was to find a job. The courts can terminate your rights if you do not maintain finacial support to them. Do you have any proof that they are being abused? you can call the child services department in the county where the children reside and file a complaint. If nothing else, the investigation will stall your courtdate giving you more time to get a job. Will your parents loan you the money to pay for your children? Whatever you can do, wherever you can work, I suggest you do it.

      1. Bobbijo Riddlebaugh · · Reply

        my parents are more than willing to help financially with my children, and yes abuse has been proved the thing with that is when our cps worker was on vacation I had a visit with my children my three year old son came to me and told me in front of a parenting worker that daddy beat him with a shoe me and the worker looked at his bottom and he was badly bruised from the bottom part of his back to the top of his legs, the parenting worker called cps and mad a report right away two cps workers came out and placed my children in to foster care when our regular cps worker came back from vacation she went to visit my children in foster care, she said she talked to them together and then apart from one another and they wanted to go home but on there way back to the home where they where abused they told the worker that daddy beat them and so did his mother. and i feel that this cps worker is not doing her job, and I have been looking for a job everyday at least two apps a day if not more

        1. A few things I would suggest for you to do.
          1. Call the cps supervisor or someone else in the office and let them know what is going one
          2. Google-West Virginia code of child custody and termination of parental rights. It will be easier for you to fight for your rights if you know what they are.
          3 Go to the Family Court house where your case is at the clerks office and make a copy of your file. Make sure that nothing in there is something you have not seen before. My guess is there will be, so this step is vital.

          I would hate to see the day that a parent looses thier rights because they cannot find a job. Keep proof of all the jobs you have applied for. Go back to all of the places you have applied for and get proof that you applied. If your rights are terminated, appeal it for sure. Do you have an attorney? What are they saying about all of this?

        2. Bobbijo Riddlebaugh · ·

          I do have an attorney but i feel like she is doing nothing for me or my children

        3. I would fire her and motion the court for an extension on the termination courtdate so that your new attorney can become familiar with the case. Again, that would buy you some time.

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