Parental rights can be terminated in Arizona when such a move is best for the child’s safety and welfare. While Arizona courts prefer both parents to remain active in the child’s life, judges also understand that this is not always possible. It is essential to understand that once the termination of parental rights occurs, it is difficult to reverse.
What Are Parental Rights in Arizona?
Parental rights include allowing the parent to assume legal and physical custody of the child and the right to visitation and other forms of contact. They include the right to make decisions regarding the child’s education and healthcare, as well as the right to pass property on through inheritance.
Parental rights are intended to protect and preserve the best interests of the child. As such, the courts look at the petition and consider whether termination of a parent’s rights would enhance the child’s safety, would benefit the child mentally or physically, and whether it would improve the child’s access to healthcare and financial support. The court will also consider access to siblings and other family members.
Reasons the Courts Grant Termination of Parental Rights
Not all parents are “good” parents. Courts can terminate parental rights when child neglect, abuse (either physical or mental), or deliberate deprivation occur. They have the discretion to terminate rights when the parent has substance abuse problems, is mentally unfit, or suffers from emotional instability that places the child in danger. When a parent abandons a child and fails to provide for the child’s financial needs without good reason, the courts may also terminate the rights of a parent. Similarly, the courts can terminate the rights of the parent when the parent commits a crime against the other parent.
Termination of Parental Rights Does Not Require Consent
While either parent can consent to the termination of parental rights, it is not necessary. In most cases, this action is initiated by one parent and contested by the other. Because the termination is considered permanent, it is not a decision the courts make lightly. Parents requesting termination of the other parent’s rights must present solid, irrefutable evidence that the rights should be terminated in order to protect the health and safety of the child.
It is also important to remember that Arizona courts will not terminate the rights of a parent under certain circumstances. For example, if the parent was incarcerated but has since undergone therapy and completed all restorative actions. Likewise, the courts won’t terminate a parent’s rights over religious differences. There must be a valid and pressing reason that could negatively impact the child’s life.
Who Can Petition for Termination of Parental Rights?
Arizona statutes allow either parent, grandparent, or other relatives to submit a petition to sever parental rights. Similarly, the petition can be submitted by the child’s foster parents, Arizona Child Protective Services, or the child’s physician, nurse, or healthcare professional. Any third party requests require considerable documentation and evidence that establishes abuse or neglect. These reports of abuse or neglect are investigated by Department Child Safety (DCS) and submitted to the courts with a recommendation to terminate the rights of one or both parents.
Contact Simon Law Group, PLLC at 480-745-2450 for more information about the steps involved in the termination of parental rights in Arizona. Our team will answer your questions and help you determine the best way to proceed.