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Home > Family Law > Child Custody > Parental Rights

Termination of Parental Rights Lawyer Serving Throughout New York

The term “parental rights” describes the legal rights held by a parent over their child. This set of rights includes decision-making abilities regarding healthcare for the child, the duty to support the child financially, the right to custody of the child, and the right to make decisions regarding the child’s education and religious upbringing. In rare cases, a child’s best interests are served by a child’s biological parent surrendering their parental rights voluntarily, or by terminating the parent’s rights through a court proceeding. The termination or surrender of parental rights is irrevocable; once these rights are ended, there are only limited circumstances under which the parent might be able to regain these rights. Due to the permanence of this decision, New York courts treat applications for the surrender or termination of parental rights very seriously. If you are seeking termination of parental rights or wish to arrange for a surrender of parental rights, contact the compassionate and experienced termination of parental rights lawyer at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for a consultation on your case. 

Surrender of parental rights

A parent may realize that they are unable to give their child the best possible life, whether due to being in and out of jail, mental health issues, or a serious substance abuse problem. Perhaps the parent has moved to another region or country and is willing to allow the custodial parent’s new spouse to legally adopt the child rather than retain their parental rights. In these cases, the parent may decide to surrender their parental rights. Some biological parents elect a partial surrender of parental rights, which allows for an open adoption of their children. In this way, the adoptive parents will have full rights to make decisions about their child, but the biological parent will still have the chance to meet with their child and have a small role in the child’s life.

Termination of parental rights

A parent’s rights are considered terminated where the rights are ended against the parent’s wishes. In these situations, a parent or parents may want to maintain legal rights over their child, but the court has determined that allowing a parent to retain these rights would be against the child’s best interests. Once parental rights have been terminated, the child can be adopted by another adult. Courts will terminate parental rights only in limited circumstances, namely:

  • The parent abandoned the child, intentionally, for at least six months
  • The parent is severely mentally ill, making them unable to provide care to the child
  • The parent has neglected the child
  • The parent is in prison and has not taken any role in caring for the child
  • The parent has committed serious and frequent abuse of the child
  • The parent was convicted of murder, attempted murder, involuntary manslaughter, assault, or aggravated assault in connection to one of their children.

Due to the high stakes involved in protecting a child from a dangerous or neglectful parent and ensuring that they live in a supportive and loving household, it is important to find an attorney that you trust to help you seek termination of a parent’s rights. Contact the Kingston offices of Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for assistance in filing a petition to terminate parental rights.

Compassionate, Dedicated and Effective Assistance in New York Parental Rights’ Matters

For assistance with a family law issue related to adoption, parental rights, custody disputes, or divorce, contact the dedicated and knowledgeable termination of parental rights lawyer at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for a consultation, in Marlboro at 845-236-4411, or in Kingston at 845-331-4100.

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