Can I Go to Court to Terminate the Parental Rights of My Ex?

Whether or not a judge will consider the termination of your ex-spouse’s parental rights depends on the specifics of your child custody case. However, in Washington State, the courts generally do not wish to terminate a parent’s rights except in the most extreme circumstances. Under Washington law, judges will always act in the best interests of the child in question. It is rare that completely severing a relationship between children and one of their biological parents is a positive change–unless a child is in danger of being physically or emotionally harmed by the parent (or has been in the past).

Generally, you must have a very strong reason to try to terminate the parental rights of your child’s other parent–and that reason must involve the wellbeing of your child, not you. If you simply want your ex out of your life, it is unlikely you will be able to terminate parental rights even if your ex is not currently contributing to your child’s life.

You may have a better chance of terminating parental rights if someone else is willing to adopt the child and care for his or her needs, such as your new spouse. Again, this may only be possible if the biological parent has abandoned your child and if he or she voluntarily relinquishes his or her rights.

It is important to realize that the termination of parental rights can have a serious affect on your child or children: without parental rights, your ex will not have the legal right to contact, influence, or care for your kids. In addition, they will not have the obligation to pay child support or financially assist your child in any way.

Do you have more questions about the termination of parental rights in Washington State? Call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today: 425-460-0550.

Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney
Molly B. Kenny's Bellevue family law office is conveniently located on Lake Bellevue Drive, making it easily accessible to those in the greater Seattle area. Our divorce and child custody lawyers help men and women get the information, guidance, and compassionate representation they need.
Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny