Generally, Florida courts recognize that the bond between a parent and a child is sacred and will do their best to protect and maintain their relationship. In some instances, though, the State will attempt to sever the relationship due to the belief that it is no longer in the child’s best interests to continue to remain in the parent’s custody. If the State is trying to terminate your parental rights, you may feel hopeless and frustrated, but there are often options you can exercise to maintain custody of your child. If you have concerns regarding the termination of your parental rights, it is wise to speak to a seasoned Pensacola adoption attorney promptly.
In Florida, the State can terminate a parent’s rights under certain circumstances. Specifically, the courts can sever a parent’s rights if they have abandoned their child, engaged in behavior that jeopardizes the child’s safety, well-being, life, or mental, physical, or emotional health, and in certain instances in which the parent is incarcerated.
The Florida courts can also terminate a parent’s rights if the courts have adjudicated a child dependent and the child continues to be abused, or the parents have breached or failed to significantly comply with the case plan, the parents have engaged in or failed to prevent egregious conduct that threatens the child’s or the child’s sibling’s safety, or subjected a child to certain abuses, and for other enumerated reasons.
Typically, whether the State or another individual seeks to terminate a parent’s rights, they must prove by clear and convincing evidence that doing so would be in the best interest of the child. Usually, the State will attempt to meet this burden of proof by testimony from witnesses or experts, documents, criminal records, and other evidence.
It is important to note that parents have the right to be represented by counsel during termination proceedings, and it is critical for any parent whose seeks to keep their parental rights to contact an attorney as soon as possible. A parent can oppose the State’s position by arguing that the State failed to meet its burden of proof or offering evidence that termination would not benefit the child. Similarly, if the parent can show that it has addressed and resolved the issue that led to the State seeking termination, and they are able to provide a loving and stable environment for the child, they may be able to prevent termination of their rights.
You may be able to make a private adoption plan if the State has not yet terminate your parental rights. A private adoption plan would take your child out of the custody of the State and place them with adoptive parents that you get to hand choose. Having a private adoption plan would allow you to voluntarily sign your parental rights over thus making it an easier transition for your child. A private adoption plan may allow you the opportunity to maintain a relationship with the adoptive parents that you choose to adopt your child.
While the connection between a parent and child is strong, it is not impenetrable, and in some cases, the State will take action to terminate a parent’s rights should they believe that is in the best interest of the child. If you are considering adoption for your child before the State terminates your parental rights, it will be beneficial to confer with an attorney about your options. Clay H. Whittaker of Gulf Coast Adoptions is a dedicated Pensacola adoption attorney with the skills and experience needed to help you find the right adoptive parents for your child. We have offices located in Pensacola, Pace, and Tallahassee and we frequently help people with private, identified, relative, and stepparent adoptions throughout Florida, and Alabama.
You can contact Attorney Clay Whittaker through by calling or texting 850-999-7977 to set up a confidential and free meeting.