Termination of Parental Rights: Voluntary vs Involuntary
There are stark differences between voluntary and involuntary termination of parental rights.
As a parent, you have certain parental rights. You can raise your child how you want, as long as it is within the boundaries of established laws. Your rights allow you to make decisions for the child regarding religion, medical treatment, education, and more. A parent also has a legal responsibility to ensure the child’s well-being. However, parental rights are not always permanent. They can be terminated in certain circumstances. You can choose to have them terminated to allow an adoption to proceed or a judge can do it based on state law.
In Florida, parental rights can be terminated involuntarily if abandonment, abuse, or neglect of a child is proven.
Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
This occurs when a judge makes the final decision to terminate a person’s parental rights. It is not a quick process. Specific rules and procedures must be followed before rights are terminated in this way. There are a number of situations that could eventually lead to a person’s parental rights being terminated. A few of the most common reasons include:
• drug and/or alcohol abuse
• domestic violence
• severe mental health issues
• criminal activity
• physical abuse of the child
• abandonment of the child
• inability or unwillingness to protect the child
• inability or unwillingness to meet the child’s basic needs
Typically, in these situations, the child is removed from the parental home and placed temporarily with relatives or with a foster family. The parents are given time to correct the circumstances deemed harmful to the child. If the parents complete all requirements, the child is returned to the parents. If the parents do not comply, their parental rights are terminated, and the child becomes available for adoption.
Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights
This occurs when a parent willingly relinquishes parental rights and responsibilities. Parents formally consent to the termination of their parental rights so that their child can be adopted. Parents can make this decision on their own without any involvement from the state and they can choose who they wish to adopt their child, as long as that family has been home study approved. This is called private adoption. In Florida, parents whose child has been removed from the home by the state can also choose a private adoption, as long as their parental rights have not yet been terminated and the court approves of the placement. This is called an intervention.
Once a parent voluntarily relinquishes their rights, and the child has been adopted, it is typically not possible to reverse the decision. Once the child has been adopted, the adoptive parents have the parental rights and all of the responsibilities of caring for the child just as if the child had been born to them.
The most significant difference between these two types of termination of parental rights is the ability to make choices. When a parent chooses adoption and voluntarily relinquishes their parental rights, they are able to decide who adopts the child and what type of adoption they wish to have. In an open adoption, the parents can stay in contact with the adoptive family and child. When rights are involuntarily terminated, the parents have little or no control over where the child is placed and who adopts the child. They also may have no ability to see or speak with the child in the future.
As you can see, there are vast differences between voluntary and involuntary termination of parental rights. If you are considering placing your child for adoption, call 727-800-6681 or chat here. This communication is entirely confidential, and you are under no obligation to choose adoption.