This post will give an overview of the grounds for the involuntary revoking of parental rights and child custody in California. The termination of parental rights means that the parent and child no longer have a legal relationship. This is sought to be done for the protection of, and in the best interests of, the child.
The rights of a parent are commonly terminated when there has been documented evidence of the parent’s failure to provide a safe home, and the failure to correct this issue of safety when the State has intervened. Grounds for unsafe circumstances include severe or chronic neglect, sexual or otherwise physical abuse, or evidence of long-term mental illness or addiction in a parent.
In California, parental rights can be terminated upon the conviction of sexual abuse or another sexual offense. Across the U.S., being convicted of a crime of violence against any family member is grounds for termination of parental rights. In California, grounds for termination of parental rights extends also to long-term incarceration from any felony that results in the need for a child to enter foster care.
Grounds for termination are not only applicable to situations when the child has been directly neglect or abused, or as a result of a parent’s incarceration or criminal offense. Child custody abandonment — the failure to have any communication with a child while he or she is in the care of another parent or guardian — is not a criminal offense. However, California Family Code Section 7822 permits that a termination of parental rights can occur if a parent has left the child in the care of another without contact, with the intent of abandonment.
This post acts as a very brief summary of the grounds for termination of parental rights. Speaking to an experienced family law attorney is essential in receiving advice on any specific legal questions you might have with regard to child custody in California.
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway, “Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights,” accessed June 29, 2017