Severance of Parental Rights in Arizona

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severance of parental rights is long, emotional, and legally complex for both petitioners and the accused parent. However, a skilled and experienced family law attorney can help you.

Family law has some of the most emotional practice areas, including divorce and child custody. However, for most people, termination or severance of parental rights is probably the most emotionally difficult. While it is natural for a child to be brought up by their parent, there are instances where a biological parent cannot provide adequate care for their child.

Breaking the parent-child bond is typically hard, even when it’s obvious the child is not safe. Understandably, Arizona reserve parental severance for dire cases, including when a child is in physical, mental, or emotional danger. However, parental severance has to be in the child’s best interest, and only the court can determine what is best for the child.

Parental severance refers to the permanent revocation of a parent’s legal rights, privileges, duties, and obligations to their child. According to Arizona laws, if a child’s current living conditions threaten their well-being, anyone close to the child can petition the court to revoke parental rights. The petitioner can be a relative, a doctor, or a private agency, provided they have a legitimate interest in the welfare of the child.

Parental severance can also be voluntary, where one or both parents voluntarily consent to the severance of parental rights. Whether voluntary or involuntary, parental severance can be long, emotionally, and legally complex. However, a skilled family law attorney can help you successfully navigate the process. Our family law attorneys at RPM law have vast experience handling termination of parental rights lawsuits and are committed to guiding you through the legal process.

Grounds for Parental Severance

While the court requires someone to petition for the termination of parental rights, the court must follow the necessary statutory requirements as outlined under Arizona laws. Some of the reasons or grounds for termination of parental rights under A.R.S. 8-533 include;

  1. Abandonment
  2. Chronic drug or substance abuse by the parent
  3. Chronic neglect or abuse of the child, including sexual abuse
  4. The parent is incapacitated by a long-term mental health illness or another chronic illness
  5. The parent has recently been convicted of a felony or incarcerated hence unavailable or unfit for parenting
  6. The parent has voluntarily consented to the child’s adoption by another person or agency
  7. Failure to establish paternity
  8. Parental failure to resolve the issues that have led to the long-term out-of-home placement of their child

While these circumstances do not automatically lead to parental severance, they are good reasons to petition the court to terminate parental rights.

Parental Severance Procedure

The law allows anyone with a legitimate interest in what is best for the child to petition to terminate parental rights. If there is suspected abuse or neglect, the first step is usually for the Arizona Child Protective Services (CPS) to take the child from the parent and place them in protective custody.

Consequently, the CPS will conduct investigations to determine whether or not the child should stay with the parent. If the abuse or neglect allegations are true, CPS will come up with a plan in line with the child’s best interest, including termination of parental rights. However, parental severance is not final. Depending on termination circumstances, a parent who loses parental rights can always appeal for reinstatement.

Contact an Arizona Parental Rights Severance Lawyer

While termination of parental rights is emotional for everyone involved, the court will terminate parental rights if there is cause to reasonably believe that a parent is a threat to their child’s safety and well-being. However, the court must follow the principle of the child’s best interest when making its decision.

Regardless of which side you fall on, severance of parental rights is long, emotional, and legally complex for both petitioners and the accused parent. However, a skilled and experienced family law attorney can help you. If you are in Tucson, AZ, contact our Arizona parental rights severance attorney at R.P.M Law for guidance and strong legal representation.