Termination of parental rights can be voluntary or involuntary. In either case, it is a necessary step in adoptions where one or both biological parents are living. The circumstances surrounding termination of parental rights can vary greatly, but in every case it is a very serious and final decision. If you are seeking termination of parental rights so that you can adopt a child or your spouse can adopt your child in a step-parent adoption, or if you are fighting involuntary termination of your parental rights, please contact the Law Office of Sarah Elise Rutledge, LLC right away to learn more about your rights and how we can help.
Adopting a Baby from the Birth Mother in Alabama
When a mother choose to give up her child for adoption she will voluntarily give up her parental rights as a part of the process. Securing termination of the father’ parental rights is crucial and can be more complicated.
An unmarried father still has parental rights. If the father registers with Alabama’s Putative Father Registry before the birth or within 30 days after the birth of the child, he must be notified of any potential adoption action and has the right to contest termination of his parental rights. If the father does not register he has given implied consent to adoption proceedings.
Step-Parent Adoption in Alabama
After divorce, both parents retain parental rights even if one parent gets sole custody. In order for a step-parent to adopt a child the parental rights of the other biological parent must be terminated. It is a very serious step. Once parental rights are terminated that parent will have no legal right to see their child, be involved in major decisions, be informed if something terrible were to happen to the child, or ever have any contact with the child.
In some cases a non-custodial parent will consent to termination of their rights because they feel that it is in the best interest of the child. Others will consent because it relieves them of their child support obligation.
In cases where the non-custodial parent refuses to give up their parental rights, it may be appropriate to seek involuntary termination. The courts favor a healthy and ongoing relationship between the child and both biological parents, and the law only allows for involuntary termination of parental rights under specific circumstances including:
- Abandonment of the child
- Refusing to support the child financially, when it is within the parent’s ability
- Failing to maintain contact or communication with the child
- Not spending time with the child as laid out in the custody and visitation agreement
To learn more about termination of parental rights in Alabama, please call Huntsville family law attorney Sarah Rutledge at 251-300-1653 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation.