Parenthood is tough in the best of circumstances. Sometimes, parents just aren’t cut out for the task of successfully raising children. In select cases, termination of parental rights may be the best option for both the parent and his or her children. This is a sensitive manner that warrants considerable thought, however. Read on to learn more about your rights as a parent — and when terminating those rights might be a viable solution.

Can Termination of Parental Rights Be Voluntary?

In Minnesota, termination of parental rights can occur on a voluntary or involuntary basis. Involuntary termination occurs if the court deems that you’ve abandoned your child or that you have repeatedly neglected to comply with your responsibilities as parent (for example, not feeding your child or refusing to provide adequate financial support).

If you pursue voluntary termination, you will agree to forgo your rights as parent — for the benefit of your child. Keep in mind, however, that termination cannot occur simply because you’re looking for a loophole to paying child support.

Is Termination the Best Option?

In select cases, termination of parental rights can prove beneficial for both children and their parents. It’s not a decision to be made lightly, however. Does another option exist? Perhaps you can make arrangements for the child’s other parent to take over custody.

Remember, courts generally deem it in the child’s best interest to maintain relationships with both parents. While you may think that terminating your rights as a parent will benefit your child, it could cause considerable harm if you are, in fact, a competent parent. Minnesota parents are often unfairly pressured into terminating their rights; when in doubt, seek assertive representation from an attorney you trust.

Termination of parental rights is a complex matter that warrants sensitive handling by an expert. Look to the Brown Law Offices for assistance with your legal situation.

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Photo of Cynthia J. Brown Cynthia J. Brown

“Some lawyers play a lot of games. That’s not my approach. There is a lot of gray area in the law, but I try to keep things relatively straightforward for my clients. That way, we can all focus on what’s really important: getting…

“Some lawyers play a lot of games. That’s not my approach. There is a lot of gray area in the law, but I try to keep things relatively straightforward for my clients. That way, we can all focus on what’s really important: getting matters settled fairly and cost-effectively. We’re certainly ready to litigate, but favor empowering clients to control the outcome of their case.”

Cynthia is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is a graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. She publishes extensively on divorce and family law issues.

Cynthia Brown was admitted to practice in 1998. After graduating from law school, Cynthia served as the law clerk to the Honorable Timothy R. Bloomquist, retired Chief Judge of Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District. Upon completing her clerkship, Cynthia practiced family law with a well-known firm in Cambridge, Minnesota. She founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A., in 2003.

Early in her career, Cynthia served as a prosecutor and public defender. In the last decade, however, Cynthia’s practice has focused primarily on family law. She has handled a wide variety of matters throughout the Twin Cities, and greater Minnesota, including divorce, custody, child support, alimony, paternity, step-parent adoption, harassment and grandparent rights.

Cynthia publishes extensively on divorce and family law issues. She is a contributing author to the Family Law Forum, the quarterly publication of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association. Cynthia also writes a bi-monthly family law column for the Minnesota Lawyer newspaper, and monthly articles for Divorce Magazine.

Cynthia obtained her Bachelor’s Degree, magna cum laude, from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, and her Juris Doctorate from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.

Cynthia founded the Amigos de Guatemala Foundation in 2007. She is a former Board Member and President of the Foundation, which provided educational, health and financial resources to underprivileged Guatemalan citizens. Her interest in serving the impoverished began with a medical mission trip to Honduras in 1994.

When she is not practicing law, Cynthia enjoys scrap-booking, soap-making, beading and spending time with family. She and her husband, Jason, also an attorney, have two children.