In most cases, Washington State courts will avoid terminating the parental rights of mothers and fathers except in the most extreme circumstances – judges believe that it is almost always better for parents and children to continue their legal relationship, and that it is almost always in the best interests of children to find an alternative solution to severing that relationship.

With that being said, there are circumstances in which the court agrees that a child would benefit from discontinuing a relationship with one or both of their parents. Usually, these circumstances put the child’s wellbeing in danger and involve an unfit parent.

What are some common grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights?

  • The child has suffered from child abuse or neglect – or other children in the home have been abused or neglected.
  • The parent has abandoned the child – he or she has not cared for the child, contacted the child or financially supported the child for an extended amount of time.
  • The parent suffers from a serious, long-term mental illness that affects their ability to care for the child. 
  • The parent suffers from a long-term, chronic, and serious drug or alcohol addiction that affects their ability to care for the child.
  • The parent has committed a violent crime that involved the child or a family member.
  • The parent has been convicted of murdering a child.
  • The parent has been incarcerated for an extended period of time and the child faces years of foster care.

Terminating the parental rights of a mother or father is an extremely serious legal step that will have a significant impact on your child or children. If you would like to learn more about the involuntary termination of these rights, it is wise to speak with an experienced, knowledgeable family law attorney. Call Molly B. Kenny today at 425-460-0550.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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