If you are a parent, you have certain rights over your child. Typically, you don't think about your parental rights because they are natural to assume. For example, you have the right to take your child to school, to decide which religion to impart to them or to instill in them a system of values. Basically, you have the right to care and raise your child in the way you see fit. This was the traditional rule and meant that you had near unlimited authority over how to raise your children.
However, the modern trend has been for the government to intercede and mandate a minimum amount of protections for children. These laws are determined at the state level and usually revolve around a basic level of safety, protection and care for the child. If a parent violates these minimum standards, their parental rights are subject to termination. Generally, your rights as a parent can be terminated for the following reasons:
- If the parent suffers from long-term mental illness or deficiency.
- If the parent has a long-term alcohol or drug-induced habit that frequently leads to incapacity.
- Sexual abuse of the child.
- Abandonment or failure to provide support or maintain contact with the child.
- Severe or chronic abuse or neglect of the child.
- Criminal record of violence against the child or another family member.
- If the parent is subject to long-term incarceration.
If you believe that your rights as a parent are being threatened by the government or your ex-spouse, then you may want to contact an attorney. In order for the government or your ex-spouse to terminate parental rights, they must meet a high burden of proof. This means that if you act quickly, you may be able to preserve your rights.