Terminating Parental Rights in Tennessee

What is the Process of Terminating Parental Rights in Tennessee?

Being a parent can be the most challenging job one can have.  The strenuous demands of parenting can leave even the best of us feeling the weight of the job — and it can be too much for some like those on the process of terminating parental rights in Tennessee.

As the responsibilities build, people can begin to crumble from the stress. This can affect the parent’s ability to provide a safe home for the child.

Removing a child is sometimes necessary to provide the safest environment for the child. This removal can be voluntary or involuntary, but it can be intense either way.

Today we will be discussing what can lead to the termination of parental rights and what to expect during the process. This article aims to provide you with important information on the topic, but does not replace the legal counsel of your attorney. For expert legal advice on termination of parental rights in Tennessee, please contact Hunter Fowler Law.

What to Expect When Terminating Parental Rights in Tennessee

The ability to remove parents’ rights over their children is serious and is usually permanent. The state of Tennessee has a code of law that states the broad stroke circumstances that may allow the state’s interest in a child’s safety and welfare to justify interfering with a parent’s constitutional rights.

The following steps will explain how the process happens when these rights are taken away involuntarily.

Step #1. Filing the petition

Parents have rights granted to them via the Constitution, so the removal of those rights can be a complicated task and should not be taken lightly. This requires a party to petition the State to begin the process.

This petition must have clear and convincing evidence that removing these rights is indeed in the child’s best interest. The causes for this can be numerous, but those that are seen most common include:

  • Abandonment
  • Abuse
  • The parent has served time in prison for a crime against another child in the home
  • The parent is mentally unable to care for the child
  • Long term drug use

The petition must include evidence and can only be filed by the child’s guardian ad litem, prospective adoptive parents, licensed child placement agency, extended family, or the department of child services. A Tennessee court will recognize the legal standing of these parties to move forward with the process.

Step #2. The hearing to decide on what is to happen

The hearing will provide the parents and the court a moment to plead their case. Typically there is no jury, and the decision will be left up to the Judge to decide on the outcome all alone.

The Judge will factor in the aspects of the case and even the individual people involved. There are a few things the Judge may look for to help aid their decision on the matter:

  • Parents have made lasting adjustments to provide safe housing for the child.
  • A meaningful connection exists between the two parties.
  • An effort had been made to contact and comfort the child during the ordeal.
  • Mentally unfit parents have been getting the help they need to be better for the child.

These factors are what the judge may look for in parents attempting to fight to keep their children. It shows a genuine want to change for their children’s safety, which can go a long way.

The order to terminate parental rights lasts forever. It severs all legal rights and obligations the parents or guardians have over the child who is the petition’s subject. This order will effectively remove a parent’s rights to a notice of adoption proceedings, the right to object to the child’s adoption, and the right to have any relationship with the child.

Typically, the removal of parental rights is the first step in cases where the child has been removed from an unsafe home with another family ready to adopt. This is done to legally ensure the child’s safety against abusive parents or guardians.

Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones With a Family Law Attorney

There’s no understating the importance of knowing what you’re talking about when you’re warring on the legal battleground. Whether you’re talking about terminating parental rights or divorce — it is vital to enter that fight well informed.

The legal needs and situations of each person are unique. So don’t miss out on a chance to learn what you can do to arm yourself for the particulars of your battle. The legal world can be daunting, so make sure you have professional help by your side when you need it.

Attorney Hunter Fowler makes the needs of you and your family his top priority and does the work to understand your unique situation and craft strong legal solutions. Contact experienced divorce attorney Hunter Fowler for compassionate, confident representation. He will work closely with you to help you prepare for child custody hearings and fight for the justice you deserve.