The Tennessee Supreme Court recently entered a ruling that clarified what Judges must look at when a case is brought before them attempting to terminate the parental rights over a child. If you have a termination of rights case, or want to know more about your rights, please continue reading below.
What is termination of parental rights?
Termination of Parental Rights is codified in Tennessee Code Annotated section 36-1-113 and in effect severs the legal relationship between a parent and child. Termination can be voluntary, such as giving up rights for an adoption, or it can be involuntary, such as when the State alleges it is not in the best interest of the child to remain with the parent(s).
What are the grounds to terminate parental rights?
Typical grounds include severe child abuse or neglect, sexual abuse, abandonment, failure to maintain contact with the child, failure to provide child support, long term drug or alcohol use by the parent, and the parent being sentenced to incarceration.
Recent Supreme Court Case
In the recent case In re Gabriella D. et al., the TN Supreme Court ruled that courts must consider all of the nine statutory factors contained in the termination statute, and in addition any relevant facts, when deciding to terminate parental rights. This would ensure that each case receives individualized consideration, and is an attempt to avoid the courts focusing on 1 or 2 factors only.