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The Termination of Parental Rights in Virginia

Parental rights are a delicate issue and the duties that come with being a parent require dedication. This is precisely why any legal attempt to terminate parental rights in Virginia must be taken seriously.

Generally, these requests come from the Department of Social Services who want to terminate a parent’s rights for allegedly neglecting those duties. When a parent neglects their child, or becomes severely abusive, there may be a legitimate reason to proceed. In Virginia, you need a serious and valid reason (or reasons) to terminate parental rights. 

What does terminating parental rights do?

Terminating parental means fully separating a parent from their child legally. This means the parent and that parent’s family members become a legal stranger to that child. Termination also means they no longer have parental responsibilities – they can no longer be expected to pay child support, supervise the child through visitation, or be legally asked to support the child in any way.

Essentially, the only remaining connection the parent has to the child is biological (if applicable). It is important to note that one parent’s rights may be terminated without impacting the rights of the child’s other parent. 

What does the state require?

The state takes any such request very seriously. A petition to terminate parental rights will not be considered until a plan of care for the child has been established. This means a foster care plan must be in place and the Court must conclude that the termination of those rights are in the best interests of the child. 

The state does not want to create a situation where any child is the loss of one parent away from becoming a ward of the state. The process to terminate parental rights can only be commenced by the Department of Social Services; however, a parent may voluntarily terminate his or her parental rights by consenting to the child’s adoption. 

The state will always serve the best interests of the child, and any action that goes substantially against those interests could result in the termination of parental rights.

Should I hire an attorney?

The straightforward answer here is yes, you should absolutely retain an attorney if you are attempting to terminate another individual’s parental rights or your own rights are at risk. These are serious legal matters that require meticulous and experienced consideration.At Rinehart Bryant, we believe in the rights of Virginia parents and will support this in any way we can as a law firm. If it’s best for a child to be legally separated from a parent or a parent’s rights need to be defended, we will stand up in the best interests of the child. Rely on us as your Virginia family law firm and get the representation you and your child deserve.

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