What Is The Process For Terminating Parental Rights In Florida?
Unfortunately, some parents will end up having their parental rights terminated if a court determines that it would be in the best interest of their child(ren) to do so. The following article will discuss the grounds for the termination of parental rights in the state of Florida and will also highlight the termination process.
What are the grounds for terminating parental rights in Florida?
Before delving into the facts of the case, it is important to first understand the grounds for terminating parental rights in the state of Florida. These grounds are codified at Florida Statute § 39.806, some of which include the following:
- The parent is incarcerated and is a violent career criminal or sexual predator
- The parent has engaged in egregious conduct or knowingly failed to prevent egregious conduct that threatens the life or safety of the child or the child’s sibling
- The parent has subjected the child or another child to aggravated child abuse, sexual battery, or sexual abuse
- The parent has committed the murder or manslaughter of the other parent or another child, or a felony battery that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or to another child
- The parental rights of the parent to a sibling of the child were involuntarily terminated
- The parents have a history of chronic use of alcohol or a controlled substance which renders them incapable of caring for the child
- The child was born with any amount of alcohol or a controlled substance in his system
What is the process for terminating parental rights in Florida?
According to Florida Statute § 63.087, the process for terminating parental rights includes the following steps:
- A petition to terminate parental rights must be filed either in the county where the child resides. The petition may be filed by a parent or other person having physical custody of the minor.
- The petitioner must issue a summons to be issued and serve both the petition and the summons on any person whose consent has been provided but who has not waived service of the pleadings and notice of the hearing and also on any person whose consent is required but who has not yet provided that consent.
- An answer to the petition or any pleading requiring an answer must be filed. Failure to file a written response to the petition constitutes grounds upon which the court may terminate parental rights. Failure of a parent to personally appear at the hearing constitutes grounds upon which the court may terminate parental rights. Any person present at the hearing to terminate parental rights must be advised that he has a right to ask that the hearing be reset for a later date so that he can consult with an attorney and be provided an opportunity to admit or deny the allegations in the petition.
- After hearing all of the evidence, the court will determine whether the termination of the parent’s parental rights are within the best interests of the child(ren). If the court does decide to terminate a parent’s parental rights, that parent loses all legal rights to and responsibility for the child(ren).
Are You At Risk of Losing Your Parental Rights? Contact Our Firm Today
If you are at risk of losing your parental rights, please contact Arwani Law Firm to discuss your legal options. Our Orlando family lawyers will answer any questions you may have regarding the legal process and will help you build a strong case.