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How to Terminate Parental Rights in Florida


Being a parent to a child is a right, not a privilege, and when a parent in Florida fails to live up to his or her duties with their child their rights can be terminated. Other situations may arise, such as the adoption by a stepparent, that may also give cause for the termination of one parent’s rights, and it is important to understand what circumstances allow for this process to take place. At the law office of Steve W. Marsee in Orlando, we have helped many parents navigate the complex process of terminating a parent’s rights to their child. Call or contact us today to learn more.

Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

The state statutes in Florida provide for voluntary and involuntary termination of parental rights. When it comes to voluntary termination, one parent is allowed to give up their parental rights to a child. This situation normally arises when a stepparent wishes to adopt a child or if both parents are giving the child up for adoption. The parent completes a written surrender form that is executed in front of two witnesses and a notary public.

Statutory Termination of Parental Rights

Florida state law also provides for a number of other situations when a parent’s rights may be involuntarily terminated for statutory purposes. A parent or legal guardian may ask the court to terminate a parent’s rights to a child when the following circumstances occur:

  • Abandonment of the child
  • When the parent engaged in conduct toward the child that threatens the life, safety, well-being, or physical, mental, or emotional health of the child
  • When the parent of a child is incarcerated and either: will constitute a significant portion of the child’s minority or the incarcerated parent has been determined by the court to be a violent career criminal, a habitual violent felony offender, or a sexual predator
  • When a child has been adjudicated dependent
  • The parent engaged in egregious conduct or knowingly failed to prevent egregious conduct that threatens the life, safety, or physical, mental, or emotional health of the child
  • The parent or parents have subjected the child or another child to aggravated child abuse, sexual battery or sexual abuse, or chronic abuse.
  • The parent or parents have 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 parent has a history of extensive, abusive, and chronic use of alcohol or a controlled substance
  • 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
  • On three or more occasions the child or another child of the parent or parents 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 or parents.
  • The child was conceived as a result of an act of sexual battery
  • The parent is convicted of an offense that requires the parent to register as a sexual predator

Call Our Office

To learn more about terminating parental rights in Florida, call or contact the office of Steve W. Marsee to speak with a skilled Orlando family law attorney today.




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