We all cherish our children and will do everything possible to preserve those natural parental rights. It is indeed a rare case in which anyone would even consider taking a child away from his or her parents. But unfortunately, there are situations in which it is in the best interest of the child to terminate such a relationship. This is why a number of states have statutory grounds for doing so. One of them is Tennessee statute known as TCA 36-1-113.
The termination of parental rights
The termination of parental rights must have strong evidence which is called “clear and convincing” 1) Visit Legal Information Institute for Definition: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/clear_and_convincing_evidence evidence. And it must point toward the best interest of the child. Typically this means the household is materially dysfunctional including parents that are abusive, absent, in jail, neglectful, under the persistent influence of drugs and alcohol or are otherwise not properly caring for the child.
If such a proceeding is brought, it is done by a petition signed under penalty of perjury with very specific facts pointing toward that abuse. In so doing, the petition must allege actual facts not, not suspicion or opinion.
Then notice must be given, usually by personal service, on the parents themselves so that they have a right to appear at the hearing, give evidence, call witnesses and generally testify their side of the story. And the petition must clearly indicate that if it is not contested, it could result in a judgment of termination.
In the event one of the parents is incarcerated, they will also be given the chance to appear at the hearing. And, if a parent cannot afford to hire an attorney, one is typically appointed for him or her.
As far as the evidence, there is typically a showing that the bad conditions at home are so severe that there is little likelihood these conditions would be remedied any time in the near future.
But what happens if there is termination? Typically the next stage is to find a proper foster home2)Child Welfare Information Gateway: https://www.childwelfare.gov/. The court looks at that as well and determines whether this might in fact be a negative influence to the child.
Of course, if the parent is incarcerated for child molestation, the chances are very slim that they would be able to prevail at such a hearing.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Visit Legal Information Institute for Definition: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/clear_and_convincing_evidence|
|2.||↑||Child Welfare Information Gateway: https://www.childwelfare.gov/|