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How much do you know about the termination of parental rights- III?

In today's post, our blog will continue its ongoing discussion of the legal grounds on which parental rights may be terminated here in Minnesota.

As always, we do this as part of our dedication to providing helpful information, and setting straight otherwise popular misconceptions concerning divorce and divorce-related topics like spousal support, child support and child custody.  

Does a child being in foster care factor into the decision to terminate parental rights?

A parent could see their parental rights terminated if their children are placed in foster care and they fail to fix the underlying reasons for this placement.

 Specifically, this can occur under the following conditions:

  • Children under eight have been out of the home for six months, or 12 out of the last 22 months if older than eight.
  • The parent has failed to follow through with a court-ordered out-of-home placement plan or address the underlying issue(s).
  • The parent has failed to work with social services to reunite their family.

When children are in foster care and essentially neglected, parents could also lose their parental rights. This means that the parent fails to visit their children and/or provide them with the necessary financial support while they are in foster care    

Can an absent birth father see his parental rights terminated?

Yes, those fathers who fit the following criteria could see their parental rights terminated by a court:

  • They were not married to the child's mother either at the time of conception or birth.
  • They do not have any sort of involvement in the life of the child.
  • They are not listed as the father on the child's birth certificate.
  • They have not taken the step of registering with the father's adoption registry.
  • They have not provided support to the child.

Is it safe to assume that anyone with a serious criminal conviction or who caused egregious harm to their children can have their parental rights terminated?

Yes, this is an accurate assumption. Indeed, those convicted of serious crimes against their own children will likely see their parental rights terminated. When the children suffer egregious harm while in the care of a parent, he or she will likely face a similar fate.

Our blog will continue this discussion in future posts. In the interim, those who have questions or concerns about child custody matters should give serious consideration to speaking with an experienced legal professional.  

Source: Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, "Termination of parental rights," Accessed Jan. 30, 2015

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