Understanding the Termination of Parental Rights
Georgia adoptions often involve the involuntary termination of one or both parents’ parental rights to the child. This is because under Georgia adoption law, a living parent who has not surrendered his or her parental rights must have those rights terminated in order for the child to be adopted. Parental rights may only be terminated by a juvenile or superior court, and if the termination is incident to the adoption, then the rights must be terminated as part of the adoption in superior court.
Georgia law recognizes several grounds for involuntary termination pf parental rights. In some cases, termination may be authorized where a parent has failed to support the child for at least a year prior to the adoption, or had failed to have contact or communicate with the child in a meaningful, [parental way for at least a year prior to the adoption. In other cases, termination may be authorized if the parent has abandoned the child. Parents who are deemed to be unfit due to inability or misconduct may also have their rights involuntarily terminated by the court in an adoption. And no matter the grounds for termination, the court must always find that termination of the parent’s rights is in the best interest of this child.
Involuntary termination of parental rights are always case and fact specific, and typically involve litigation. If you have any questions about how Georgia courts apply the law to termination of parental rights, cases, give us a call. We handle termination of rights cases with regularity and are experienced in all types of adoptions.
* Thomas Tebeau III practices adoption law across the State of Georgia. He has finalized hundreds of adoptions of all types. Tom is a Fellow with the Georgia Council of Adoption Lawyers, and presents on adoption related topics at seminars and conferences throughout the State.