Minnesota is home to many loving and capable parents. Some, however, fail to provide safe, loving homes for their children. In especially alarming situations, these parents’ rights to care for their children may be taken away by the court in a proceeding known as “termination of parental rights.” This action removes the formerly legal parent’s ability to care for or make decisions on behalf of his or her child. Read on for valuable insight into parental right termination in Minnesota:
Voluntary Versus Involuntary Termination
Termination of parental rights can either be voluntary or involuntary. In voluntary cases, the parent may choose to cede his or her rights to somebody he or she deems better capable of providing quality care. Often, voluntary termination occurs after a child has been fostered or cared for by someone else for a long period of time.
With involuntary termination, the parent does not agree that he or she is unfit to care for children. In such cases, the court determines, based on ample evidence, that this person’s children would be better served in foster care or under the supervision of an approved guardian (or adoptive parent).
Grounds For Termination of Parental Rights
In Minnesota, valid grounds for parental rights termination include:
- Voluntary consent from the parent if he or she has good cause (good cause does not include the desire to avoid child support)
- Abandonment of the child
- The parent failed to provide his or her child with adequate food, clothing, or shelter
- The parent’s pattern of conduct renders him or her unfit for caring for children
- Efforts to correct the situation leading to the child’s placement outside of the parent’s home have failed to create a safe environment
In Minnesota, as in other states, a high standard of proof must be achieved before a parent’s rights can be terminated. Typically, an involuntary termination case begins with a thorough investigation, followed by a Child in Need of Protection or Services (CHIPS) petition. In especially serious cases, however, the CHIPS process can be skipped.
Defending Against Termination of Parental Rights
If you believe that you are the wrongful victim of a Child in Need of Protection or Services petition, it is imperative that you take prompt legal action. If your rights are terminated, you may never regain custody. With the right attorney on your side, you can demonstrate that your children would most benefit from your care.
The law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. offers high-quality counsel and representation for Minnesota families. Contact us today to learn more about our legal services and approach to family law.