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Grounds to Terminate Parental Rights in Florida

Being a parent is arguably the biggest responsibility that a person will ever take on in their life. Most parents perform this role well and serve as the protector, caretaker, and role model for their child. However, some parents do not live up to their responsibilities, and Florida law provides the means to terminate the parental rights of unfit mothers and fathers.

Statutory Grounds to Terminate Rights

In Florida, there are twelve statutory grounds that the court may apply to terminate the parental rights of a person with their child. Section 39.086 states that grounds for termination of parental rights may be established when:

  • A parent voluntarily executed a written surrender of the child.
  • Abandonment, or when the identity or location of the parent is unknown and cannot be ascertained by diligent search within 60 days.
  • When the parent engaged in conduct toward the child or toward other children that demonstrates that the continuing involvement of the parent or parents in the parent-child relationship threatens the life, safety, well-being, or physical, mental, or emotional health of the child.
  • A parent of a child is incarcerated in a state or federal correctional institution and will either: constitute a substantial portion of the period of time before the child will attain the age of 18 years; or be labeled as a violent career criminal, a habitual violent felony offender, or a sexual predator, such that continuing the parental relationship with the incarcerated parent would be harmful to the child.
  • A child has been adjudicated dependent and the child continues to be abused, neglected, or abandoned.
  • The parent or parents engaged in egregious conduct or had the opportunity and capability to prevent and knowingly failed to prevent egregious conduct that threatens the life, safety, or physical, mental, or emotional health of the child or the child’s sibling.
  • The parent has subjected the child or another child to aggravated child abuse, sexual battery or sexual abuse, or chronic abuse.
  • The parent committed the murder, manslaughter, aiding or abetting the murder, or conspiracy or solicitation to murder the other parent or another child, or a felony battery that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or to another child.
  • The parental rights of the parent to a sibling of the child have been terminated involuntarily.
  • The parents have a history of extensive, abusive, and chronic use of alcohol or a controlled substance which renders them incapable of caring for the child.
  • A test administered at birth that indicated that the child’s blood, urine, or meconium contained any amount of alcohol or a controlled substance or metabolites of such substances, and the biological mother of the child is the biological mother of at least one other child who was adjudicated dependent after a finding of harm to the child’s health or welfare due to exposure to a controlled substance or alcohol.
  • On three or more occasions the child or another child of the parent has been placed in out-of-home care, and the conditions that led to the child’s out-of-home placement were caused by the parent.

Contact a Orlando Family Law Attorney

Having the rights of a parent terminated can be an emotionally and legally complex situation. If you wish to terminate your parental rights or have the rights of your child’s other parent terminated in the Orlando area, let the experienced family law attorneys at Steve W. Marsee, P.A. help. Call or contact the office today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.

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