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Parental rights and responsibilities: Understand yours

As a parent, you naturally retain parental rights by law. You have the right and responsibility to raise your child. You also have the responsibility to support and care for your child.

There are processes by which parents can lose their rights, which is important to understand when you're going through a divorce. If there are allegations of abuse or domestic violence, for instance, the parent who is accused could face a loss of rights that they should fight against.

There are grounds for the termination of parental rights. Usually, a parent has to show severe signs of neglecting a child or abandoning a child. Some other causes of the termination of parental rights include:

  • Long-term mental illness or other deficiencies
  • Drug- or alcohol-induced incapacity of a parent
  • Failure to support or contact the child
  • The involuntary loss of parental rights to another child
  • Abandonment
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect or abuse of other children in the same household

Parents may also lose their parental rights if they are convicted of certain felony charges or are violent and convicted of a violent crime against their family members or the child.

It is possible for a parent to voluntarily give up their parental rights. They can do this when they wish for their child to go up for adoption. For instance, if your ex-spouse doesn't want to parent your children, but your new spouse does, your ex-spouse may give up their parental rights and allow your new spouse to adopt your child.

These are a few things to think about when considering your parental rights. They are given when your child is born, but it is possible to lose them in extreme cases.

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