In some instances, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) will file a petition to terminate parental rights (TPR). This document requests that the court sever the adult’s rights to the child. If an order is entered against you, you face the possibility of permanently losing contact with your child. If you are involved in a termination of parental rights hearing, it is critical that you hire a skilled attorney to protect your rights.
The ultimate sanction against a parent is a TPR Petition. If DCF has filed a petition and later determines that you have not rehabilitated in a reasonable amount of time, then it will file a TPR petition in the Juvenile Court. TPR trials are gut-wrenching experiences. If you lose, your parental rights are legally ended, and the child will normally be put up for adoption. TPR is a parental death sentence.
In extreme cases, DCF files a TPR simultaneously with the neglect petition. That does not happen often. Usually, you are given a chance to rehabilitate. However, as we have seen, DCF and the parent often disagree as to the parent’s progress in rehabilitation.
Clearly, the best defense to a TPR is to never let it happen in the first place. When an abuse/neglect petition has been filed, you should work with your attorney to do what is needed to get the child back and get DCF out of your life. However, if TPR is filed, it is, of course, extremely serious business.
DCF normally has the best attorneys from the Attorney General’s office prosecuting TPR cases. You, in turn, need an aggressive attorney who is experienced in these matters. But, make no mistake: the best chance is to avoid it in the first place. That’s why cooperating with your attorney when an abuse/neglect petition is filed is the best strategy.
For legal advice on termination of parental rights call the attorneys at Allen & Abaray, P.A. One of our experienced attorneys will be happy to answer all of your questions during a free consultation.
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