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Fort Lauderdale Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > 12 Situations In Which Parental Rights May Be Terminated

12 Situations In Which Parental Rights May Be Terminated


Protecting your child’s physical and emotional health and well-being is a primary concern as a parent. Unfortunately, in some cases, that means shielding them from their other parent.

The court generally attempts to have both parents share in the responsibilities of caring for children in parenting and timesharing plans, but there are situations in which communications and access must be restricted. In certain cases, the court may take the drastic step of completely terminating a parent’s rights. The following outlines 12 circumstances under which this may occur.

Issues That May Impact Parenting Plans

Under Section 61.13 of the Florida State Statutes, it is the general policy of the state to encourage both parents to have frequent and meaningful contact with their children and to share in the decision making process in matters affecting the child. This is often a hotly debated issue in timesharing proceedings, both between couples going through a divorce as well as those who conceived children outside of marriage. Factors the court considers include:

  • The relationship between the child and each parent;
  • The role each parent has played in providing for the child;
  • The parents’ ability to provide a safe, nurturing environment and to make decisions based on the child’s best interests.

Parents often bring up bad behavior on the part of their former partner, such as adultery, reckless or immoral conduct, and the use of alcohol or other substances, as examples as to why timesharing should be restricted. These may provide convincing reasons to a judge as to why parental responsibility should not be divided evenly, but they generally do not keep a parent from having access to their child.

Termination of Parental Rights In Florida

Seeking a court order to sever a parent’s rights may seem extreme but there are situations in which it is warranted, particularly if contact poses a serious risk to the child’s health, safety, or development. Under Section 39.806 of the Florida Statutes, there are 12 basic grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights:

  • Abandonment.
  • Neglect.
  • Parental incarceration.
  • Egregious conduct, or exposing the child to behavior that is shocking, immoral, and potentially dangerous.
  • Child abuse, assault, or sexual abuse, committed by a parent or by another party, with their consent.
  • Conspiracy to commit murder, manslaughter, or felony battery against the other parent or a sibling of the child.
  • Chronic, extensive drug or alcohol abuse.
  • In newborns testing positive for alcohol or controlled substances.
  • Three or more out of home placements due to improper parenting.
  • When a sexual assault results in a child.
  • When a parent’s crime requires them to be listed as sexual predators.
  • When parental rights have previously been terminated with a child’s siblings.

Let Us Help You Today

If you are involved in a dispute over parental responsibility and timesharing plans, contact the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC  today. Our experienced Florida attorney provides the compassionate, professional legal representation you need to guide you through your options, while ensuring you and your child’s rights are protected.




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