Termination of Parental Rights in Alabama
Termination of parental rights can be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary termination occurs most often in adoption cases or in situations where a child no longer has a relationship with a non-custodial parent.
Alabama has a two-pronged test that any court must apply before involuntarily terminating a person's parental rights.
First, the court must find that a valid ground exists for terminating parental rights. Alabama Code Section 26-18-7 sets forth grounds for termination of parental rights; factors considered; and presumption(s) arising from abandonment. In determining whether or not a parent is unable or unwilling to discharge his/her responsibility to and for a child, the court shall consider, but is not limited to the following factors:
1. Abandonment of the minor child,
2. Mental lllness of the parent preventing proper care of child,
3. Habitual drunkenness or use of drugs preventing proper care of child,
4. Abuse of the child,
5. Conviction of harming another child,
6. Willfull neglect,
7. Failure to provide for child’s basic needs and support,
8. Failure to regularly exercise child visitation.
Second, the court must inquire whether all via alternatives to termination have been considered. Courts generally terminate in only the most egregious cases because parental rights, once terminated, cannot be reinstated.
If you are seeking termination of parental rights for an adoption or need counsel to represent you in an involuntary termination proceeding, call Attorney Nika Gholston at (334) 557-7011 to schedule an appointment today.