Parental termination means that you are no longer a parent in the eyes of the law. A parent whose rights are terminated no longer has rights and responsibilities, sometimes including financial responsibilities, to his or her children.
Some of our clients want to know if they can terminate their own parental rights, or terminate the other parent’s rights, after a divorce. At Calgary Family Law Associates, our lawyers will answer your questions about termination of parental rights in detail if you ask us, but the basic answer is that this is a very serious action that normally does not succeed except in extreme circumstances.
Ending The Parent-Child Relationship
There are two reasons most parents come to ask us about termination:
- Post-divorce hostility: Sometimes, the parent who has sole custody may seek to terminate parental rights for the other parent. It may seem that doing so will make things easier for the custodial parent and for the children, who will no longer have to be torn between their parents. However, the courts put a very high value on the child’s relationship with both parents. Even if there are problems, the courts will generally not agree that the convenience of avoiding parental conflict is in the best interests of the child.
- Child support: Some parents want to stop paying child support, especially if they rarely or never see their children. However, the court sees child support as the right of the child. It also sees the potential for irreparable harm to the child if a parent ends his or her relationship in order to save money.
Parental rights can be terminated in very few situations, including:
- No relationship: If the noncustodial parent has no relationship with his or her child at all, the custodial parent may seek to remove the noncustodial parent’s rights. If the courts find a history of abandonment and no history of child support payments, the relationship may be terminated.
- Adoption: A stepparent adoption can only take place if the birth parent agrees to terminate his or her parental rights, or has those rights terminated by the court.
- Abuse or neglect: The parent must be such a danger to the child’s physical, mental or emotional health that he or she must be removed from the child’s life completely. This is extreme, and usually requires months or years to decide on. All other alternatives must be tried first.
Contact Calgary Family Law Associates
Contact us to learn more about termination of parental rights in Calgary and surrounding parts of Alberta. Call us at 587-393-7850, or contact each lawyer individually. You can also fill out our online form.