West Chester Parental Rights Attorney
What steps do you take to terminate parental rights in Chester County? Many factors can constitute grounds to terminate parental rights:
- Abandonment for a period of at least six (6) months immediately preceding the filing of a Petition to Terminate
- Incompetency and Neglect
- The Parent is not the biological parent of the child (However, circumstances and legal doctrine can challenge this ground)
- Found Child – Child is in the custody of an agency because parent(s) have disappeared or identity is unknown following three (3) months after child is found
- Failure to remedy conditions six (6) months following the removal of a child from an agency
- Newborns under age six (6) months if parent fails to maintain contact or financially support child for four (4) months and is not married or living with other parent
- Rape and incest – parent is the father of a child conceived as a result of rape or incest
- 12 month abandonment – 12 months have elapsed following placement of child with an agency and conditions have not been remedied
Voluntary Termination or Relinquishment of Parental Rights
A birth parent can voluntarily relinquish his or her parental rights by filing a Petition to Terminate Parental Rights if a child is under age 18 and has been in the care of an agency for a minimum of three days or an adult has filed a report of Intention to Adopt.
It is against public policy for a parent to voluntarily relinquish his or her parental rights without simultaneous procedures of another party(s) to adopt. This policy ensures that minors will always be financially supported by adults who are either responsible to support a child or choose to adopt and thus support a child.
Circumstances that typically cannot be used as grounds for termination of parental rights are:
- Mental illness – courts must still consider needs and welfare of children
- Incarceration of a parent
- Child in need of welfare or social services but parent is taking steps to remedy the conditions which led to the removal of child
Experienced Parental Rights Lawyer in Pennsylvania
At Ciccarelli Law Offices, our Chester County family law team understands that divorce may be the necessary solution to a difficult relationship – both highly emotional and stressful. We are dedicated to helping you get through the legal process effectively so you can achieve the necessary mindset for a new beginning. If you have questions about your family law case, divorce or custody battle, contact our office at (610) 692-8700 for an free case evaluation.