Situations in Which Parental Rights could be Terminated in Arizona
Generally, it is believed that a child’s best interest is to be with their parents. In certain situations, however, parental rights could be terminated in Arizona. Such cases are incredibly challenging and courts will have to gather sufficient evidence in order to make a decision.
Situations in Which Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights can Occur
Under Arizona regulations, the parental rights could be terminated for an individual in a number of specific situations. A few of the most common ones include:
- There is evidence of neglect or abandonment by the parent
- Intentional abuse
- A history of sexual violence
- A parent who has failed to make reasonable effort when it comes to the provision of a safe environment for the child
- A parent has been convicted of a crime, which makes them unfit for a custodian
- A parent has lost the parental rights for another child over the past two years
- The child has been taken out of their home, reunited with the parent and then taken out of the home again within a period of 18 months
Even in such situations, the termination is not going to be an immediate one. The individual who is at risk of losing their parental rights will be notified. Following a notice of a qualifying situation, the court will have the right to order a motion for the termination of parental rights within a 10-day period. The initial hearing will typically be scheduled for a date within the coming 90 days.
A parent who objects to the termination will have the right to be heard by a judge and to provide evidence of their own.
How a Court Decision is Made
Arizona courts will never take such cases lightly. As already mentioned, the child’s best interest has to be considered when it comes to parental rights, the selection of custodians or adoptive parents.
In order to determine what the child’s best interest is, a court will have to examine all of the following:
- The parent’s ambivalence to parenting
- A permanency goal pertaining to the wellbeing of the child
- The age of the child and whether they are willing to consent to adoption (children who are aged 12 or older have to consent for an adoption to take place)
- Whether reunification services have been ordered without provision
- Whether relatives and other individuals in the life of a child can provide a stable, nurturing environment
- What the effect of a removal from their current environment is going to be on a child
An individual has to request the termination of parental rights and petition the court providing reasons for the request. Based on the information that the court gathers during the proceedings, it may decide to do any of the following:
- Appoint a guardian to a child
- Give the guardian legal custody over the child
- Appoint a child care agency to act as a guardian if there’s no individual to step in and accept the role
Still, even in extreme situations, the court has to exhaust all other options before finally terminating parental rights. Treatment and corrective measures could be ordered initially. Progress on those will be monitored closely to determine whether the parent will be capable of providing a safe environment for the child.
Is it Possible for Parental Rights to be Reinstated?
The involuntary termination of parental rights can be a lengthy and complex procedure. Once an individual goes through it, however, is it possible for them to have their parental rights reinstated?
Such a reversal of the Arizona court decision is possible under some circumstances.
A child in state care who does not get placed within a reasonable amount of time can be reinstated with their biological parent after a petition is filed in court.
Additionally, parents can be given back their rights if they prove that they are capable of creating a safe environment for their children.
Check with experienced Arizona lawyers to build a strong case.