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Courts generally don't want parents to sign away their rights

In some cases, parents have the ability to terminate their parental rights. This is a huge step to take, and it's never something that should be done without careful thought and consideration. It means that the parent is legally cut off from the child and has no more ability to make decisions on their behalf. From a legal standpoint, the two are no longer related.

This is not something that courts want to do. Most of the time, they err on the side of leaving parental rights in place. That's why termination of rights is a request and not a legal action. The court can deny it. They consider things like the best interests of the child, the child's wishes, ability to support the child and safety issues.

For instance, terminating parental rights typically ends the need for child support payments. This may feel like an attractive option to a parent who does not want to pay any longer. However, the court does not want to just cut this relationship off to benefit the parent financially. That's why they look at the big picture and make a determination based on many factors.

One of the most common reasons for a termination of rights is to allow an adoption. For example, perhaps a child has been placed in a foster home and the efforts to place the child back with his or her parents have failed. Meanwhile, the foster family decided they wanted to adopt the child. The biological parents can terminate their rights to allow the adoption to go through.

No matter which side of that equation you are on, it's important to know what legal steps to take.

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