Termination of Parental Rights

When the New Jersey courts terminate someone’s parental rights, it is sometimes just a formality. The biological father may have walked out years ago, and the new stepfather wants to legally adopt the child. In these types of cases, there is rarely any conflict and the process tends to proceed smoothly.

In other situations, the termination of parental rights is a source of great contention. For instance, the courts may decide that the biological mother is unfit to parent the child and that the child’s grandparents should be allowed to legally adopt the child as their own.

Whether your situation involves mere paperwork or intense litigation, you can rely on Hanan M. Isaacs, P.C. From our headquarters in Kingston, our family law attorneys represent clients in Somerset County and across New Jersey in adoption cases and other family law matters. Our lawyers draw upon more than 35 years of legal experience, allowing them to develop sound strategies for promoting clients’ goals and protecting their interests.

We are available to assist both adoptive parents and biological parents with their legal concerns. Call 609-683-7400.

Five Reasons the Court Can Terminate a Parent’s Rights

A parent may choose to voluntarily sign over his or her legal rights. This is not uncommon in adoption cases. In some situations, however, the court will step in and attempt to end a parent’s rights against his or her will. To be successful, the court must usually prove one of the following:

  1. Terminating parental rights is in the best interests of the child.
  2. The parent failed to correct the problem that led to the child being removed from his or her custody.
  3. The parent has abandoned the child and cannot be located.
  4. The parent has been convicted of a crime against a child.
  5. The parent acted or attempted to act in a way that posed the potential for serious bodily injury or death to his or her child.

What Is Kinship Legal Guardianship?

In some situations, kinship legal guardianship can be used as an alternative to the termination of parental rights. It involves making a family member the legal guardian of the child. The parent will typically retain certain rights — such as the right to visit his or her child — but the relative will provide a home for the child and raise him or her.

A relative may only be awarded legal guardianship status if:

  • The child has lived with him or her for at least a year.
  • He or she passes background checks and a home inspection.
  • He or she completes required training for foster parents.

The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) must have also attempted to reunite the parent and child.

Our office has represented families who wish to intervene with a troubled relative and become the Kinship Legal Guardian for that relative’s child or children. We have also represented the troubled parent who, for reasons of substance abuse or otherwise, understands that she is not capable of raising that child or children, yet does not want to see her rights terminated. She may hope to be fully reunited with her child some day. Sometimes, her acquiescence in the Kinship Legal Guardianship process is the best answer to some complex and long-term problems.

More Questions? We Are Here to Answer Them.

We encourage you to contact the lawyers at Hanan M. Isaacs, P.C., to arrange a consultation about your adoption or Kinship Legal Guardianship hopes and concerns. Either email our Kingston office or call us at 609-683-7400 toll free. We accept all major credit cards (except for Amex). Evening appointments may also be arranged if necessary.

Significant Cases

Audio Files