Grounds for Parental Termination in Arizona
When a child lives in conditions that threaten his physical and mental condition, anyone close to him can petition that his parents be deprived of their rights.
Grounds for Parental Termination in Arizona
Arizona Revised Statute §8-533(B) provides the following grounds for termination:
- The parent abandoned the child.
- The parent neglected or abused the child.
- The parent has a mental illness or a history of substance abuse that is likely to continue for an indeterminate period.
- The parent was convicted of a felony of such a nature that would prove unfitness to the parent, or the sentence will deprive the child of a normal home for years.
- The presumed (called “putative”) father failed to file a timely claim of paternity.
- The parents relinquished their rights to another individual or an adoption agency.
- The child is being cared for in an out-of-home placement for a while, and the parents have not remedied the situation that caused such placement.
- The identity of the parent is unknown and remains unknown after three months of diligent searching.
- The parent had parental rights to another child terminated within the preceding two years and is presently unable to discharge parental responsibilities for the exact cause.
- The child is repeatedly removed from the home to out-of-home placement.
Every child has the right to receive help from parents. Thus, if a child does not receive financial assistance from a parent, he still has the right to visit the child. Although it seems strange, the logic behind it is that two parents love their child and show this, it is much more important than a parent who has financial problems for a certain period.
Even so, there may be circumstances in which financial problems can be a red flag. For example, a parent who does not pay child support repeatedly may end up abandoning or neglecting their child.
Termination of Parental Rights
When the court decides to terminate parental rights, the parent can no longer make important decisions about the child’s life, such as education, health, religion. A parent who has lost parental rights is no longer required to pay child support; now, the child’s welfare rests with the adoptive parent.
Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights
A parent may voluntarily quit his rights over the child if he cannot provide the support they need. For this to be possible, there must be another adult willing to take up the child.
Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
In Arizona, 13 situations can serve as grounds to terminate parental rights involuntarily:
- Abuse or neglect of other children in the household
- Chronic or severe abuse or neglect
- Conviction of a felony where the prison sentence will deprive the child of a normal home for years
- Failure to support or maintain contact with the child
- Involuntary termination of parental rights to another child
- Long-term chronic abuse of alcohol or drugs
- Long-term mental deficiency or mental illness
- Sexual abuse
- The parent’s identity is unknown and remains unknown after three months of diligent efforts to identify and locate the parent.
- The parents have already relinquished their rights to a child to a state agency or have consented to an adoption.
- The potential father was issued a notice of planned adoption, and he failed to file a paternity action within 30 days.
- The putative father failed to file a notice of claim of paternity.
Keep in mind that these cases do not automatically lead to the loss of parental rights but are reasons for completing one petition to the court.
Ryan Reppucci is the managing partner at Reppucci & Roeder and is recognized as one of Phoenix’s leading family law attorneys. After graduating from Arizona State with the highest honors and inclusion in America’s most prestigious student honor societies, Ryan attended the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. His career as a law student was decorated with numerous awards, including the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law Book Award, nomination for membership in Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities, as well as Moot Court.
Ryan began his law career in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office in various roles with America’s busiest criminal court systems. His success in these roles led to a clerkship with a leading criminal defense firm. Recognizing that his passion was in helping families, Ryan chose to move back to his native hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, where he began his practice in Family and Domestic Relations Law. Throughout his career, Ryan has stayed committed to excellence, service to others, and integrity within the legal profession. As part of his mantra of service to others, Ryan has served as Judge Pro Tempore for the Maricopa County Superior Court and regularly teaches as an adjunct law professor with Arizona Summit Law School.