Two Common Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Termination of parental rights (TPR) is the process by which all future rights and responsiblities of the biological parents are terminated.

South Carolina Code lists eleven grounds for the termination of parental rights.

Two of the more frequently used grounds for the terminatin of parental rights in a private adoption action are:

  1. The child has lived outside the home of either parent for a period of six months, and during that time the parent has wilfully failed to visit the child. The court may attach little or no weight to incidental visitations, but it must be shown that the parent was not prevented from visiting by the party having custody or by court order. The distance of the child's placement from the parent's home must be taken into consideration when determining the ability to visit, and;
  2. The child has lived outside the home of either parent for a period of six months, and during that time the parent has wilfully failed to support the child. Failure to support means that the parent has failed to make a material contribution to the child's care. A material contribution consists of either financial contributions according to the parent's means or contributions of food, clothing, shelter, or other necessities for the care of the child according to the parent's means. The court may consider all relevant circumstances in determining whether or not the parent has wilfully failed to support the child, including requests for support by the custodian and the ability of the parent to provide support.

These two ground are independent of one another and only one needs to be shown for the judge to grant the termination of the parent's rights.

The judge has a great deal of discretion; even though you may be able to show that the biological parent has wilfully failed to visit or support the child, the judge may determine after reviewing all the facts that it is not in the best interest of the child to terminate the parent's rights.

 

 

 

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Comments (4) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Gina - December 12, 2009 3:05 PM

Russell was extremely helpful answering questions on adoption. We are just starting the process, and now we have some direction. Thanks Russell

Maggi Jones - March 30, 2011 12:30 AM

My ex has not paid child support since May of 2009, and has not seen my daughter since then. We have had no contact at all since August 2010. I recently googled his name and found that he plead guilty to a DUI 2nd offense in August 2010. He has another case pending in another county for DUI from November 2010. He is a severe diabetic on top of the alcohol issues. I want to have his rights terminated so my husband can adopt my daughter. He has raised her since she was 18 months old and she recently turned 9. I really don't know where to start. Any advice??

Your exhusband has not paid child support nor visited the child since May of 2009. Two grounds for terminating a parent's rights are not visiting the child or supporting the child within six months prior to filing a termination of parental rights action. With the facts you have given me above, I believe you have the grounds to terminate your ex-husbands rights. You next step will be to contact an attorney and move forward with the termination action and the adoption action. Feel free to contact my office at 843-267-0906 with any more questions or concerns.


With Respect,


Russell W. Hall III

Daniel Shephard - March 30, 2011 11:46 AM

I would like to know my options to terminate my parental rights with my 15 year old daughter. I pay my child support on time every week. My ex-wife will not let me have any communication with my daughter and I have tried many avenues to speak with her. At the divorce hearing, my ex was granted full custody but no mention was made of visitation, but it was not denied either. Due to my ex-wife's comments about me whether they be true or not, I have not control over what is said, my daughter has told me to my face that she does not wish for me to be her father. I do not know if this it the right thing to do, but I am tired of beating my head against the wall and there seems to be no way out. Please advise as to my rights if you have a moment. Thank you.

Clara - November 22, 2011 4:31 PM

My daughter has a 7 month old son. She and the father are not married and are no longer involved. My daughter and the baby live with us (her father, mother and brother). The paperwork for the birth certificate has not been completed therefore, the father is not listed as the father on the birth certificate. The father has not seen the baby since he was approximately 7 weeks old. He has never contributed any money to support the baby in any way. We found out that the father had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for failure to comply on a drug charge; therefore, we did not want him coming to our home. He has a serious drug addiction problem. He has been in rehab twice and left - not completing the program. He has numerous DUI and drug charges. He does not have a license. He does not have a job and can no longer get unemployment. Since his father passed away earlier this year, he is now homeless because no one in his family will allow him to live with them. He has called sporadically to talk with my daughter - and very rarely asked how the baby was doing. After 4 months, he finally turned himself in and he is currently in a court ordered drug diversion program. He is now calling from the program saying that he is going to take her to court. My daughter wants to terminate his parental rights. Does she have just cause?

If he has willfully not supported the child or willfully not visited with the child in six month and the child has been outside of his home, the statute provides a cause of action for termination of his parental rights. According to your fact pattern, you may be able to ask the court to terminate his parental right for willfully not supporting the child. Presently, I doubt you have a cause of action for willfully faling to visit. Though the statutes allow for the termination of parental rights under certain circumstance, the judges I have worked with will not terminate a parents rights in a private action unless someone is also asking to adopt the child such as grandparents or a stepparent; or if the parent has commited some horrendous act upon the child or in the presence of the child. Call me with any further questions at 843-267-0906.

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