Termination of Parental Rights usually involves matters wherein the State has initiated a process in order to involuntarily terminate the parent's rights after the parent's wrongdoings.
However, with cases such as the Jeremy Peoples case, where he, a convicted murderer, was granted custody of his two children after the children had lived with their Aunt for years during his incarceration, more private individuals have sought termination of parental rights orders. A number of people have the ability to terminate a parent rights such as relatives, foster parents, or parents. These individuals are seeking to terminate the rights of the parent or parents who return to the child's life after years of abandonment, addiction, physical abuse, or serving prison sentences.
Under Colorado law, in order to succeed in a petition to terminate parental rights, a court must find by clear and convincing evidence that there has been a previous determination of abandonment, such as the parent has surrendered physical custody for a period of six months or longer with no intent to return or the parent's identity is unknown.
Or the Court can make a determination by clear and convincing evidence that the parent is unfit - such as causing serious bodily injury to the child or a sibling due to parental neglect or abuse, long term imprisonment, habitual abuse of a child, sexual abuse of a child, excessive use of drugs or alcohol, failure to attend visits with the child, failure to support the child without justification, or has left the child in foster care for 15 months.
When the court makes a determination whether or not to terminate a parent's rights, the primary consideration is the child's best interest and/or their physical, mental, and emotional needs and conditions.
While parental rights are fundamental under the constitution, Colorado and other state courts have determined that assuring that a child is provided a safe and stable home atmosphere in which they may progress physically, intellectually, and emotionally trumps the parent's rights to maintain a relationship with a minor child.
Whether you are an individual wanting to terminate the rights of the parent or the parent against whom a petition has been filed, it is crucial to speak with a high quality attorney who understands. Please contact the Domestic Team at Feldmann & Nagel, LLC for your parental rights issues and all of your family law needs.