The first thing you should know is that only a judge can terminate the rights of a parent. Even then, there needs to exist a valid reason before a judge takes such drastic measures. For example, you cannot ask to terminate your co-parent’s rights based solely on your word of inappropriate conduct or other harmful treatment.
Courts in the 21st century are aware of the many benefits having two parents provides children. As such, courts in Des Moines and other Iowa locations typically seek to uncover why such an action is necessary before making any decisions.
Are there any legal grounds for terminating parental rights?
Yes, there are several legal grounds for this purpose. A judge will review the circumstances of each case carefully. Such a review allows the judge to make sure termination of parental rights is best for the child. Five of the grounds for termination of rights include:
- Desertion or abandonment of the child
- Parental imprisonment (five years or more)
- Sex crime convictions involving children
- Dangerous parental substance-use disorder
- Chronic parental mental illness, with repeated institutionalizations
Statutorily, there are many other reasons a judge would order the termination of parental rights. However, some of these grounds are complicated and require a thorough legal explanation.
If you believe your child is at risk of physical or psychological mistreatment on the part of your co-parent, reach out for help. Family law courts investigate these matters thoroughly, often in conjunction with state child protection centers. It is also wise to expand your knowledge about family law procedures and how to work with local courts to ensure your child’s best interests remain in focus.