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Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Photo of aggressive dad screaming at his small son who does not understand the material and home task he is very terrified sitting at the table trying to concentrate read textbook

New Jersey courts give a lot of deference to parents and always prefer to let both parents continue to raise the children wherever appropriate. Under certain circumstances, however, the state will step in to terminate the parental rights of one or both parents or guardians. For a parent to lose their legal rights, the court must be convinced that the parent has abdicated their parental duties to the detriment of the child. Below, we explain the grounds for terminating parental rights in New Jersey. Call an experienced New Jersey child custody and parental rights attorney for assistance with a child custody matter.

The Grounds for Terminating Parental Rights Under New Jersey Law

New Jersey law lays out five specific, distinct grounds for terminating a parent’s parental rights. Pursuant to NJSA 30:4C-15, any interested person, association, or agency may file a petition to terminate parental rights when any of the following apply:

  • A parent has been convicted of abuse, abandonment, neglect, or cruelty of the child.
  • The best interests of the child dictate that they should be placed under guardianship away from the parents.
  • A child was removed from the home and the guardian or parent has failed for at least a year to correct the circumstances that led to the removal, despite being financially and physically able to do so, even with the assistance of the Department of Children and Families.
  • A parent has abandoned the child.
  • A parent has been convicted of one of a number of certain crimes against the other parent, the child, or another child. These crimes include murder, manslaughter, or an attempt to kill the child’s other parent, as well as conspiring to, attempting to, or assisting in the commission of such a crime against the child or another child of the parent. Covered crimes also include assault, attempted assault, or other serious acts which resulted or could have resulted in serious injury to the child, the child’s other parent, or another child of the parent.

If any of the above can be proven by any interested party, whether or not they are related to the child in question, then parental rights may be terminated by a New Jersey court. If you believe there are grounds to terminate the parental rights of your co-parent, or if you are facing involuntary termination of your own parental rights, a seasoned child custody attorney can help you understand your rights and protect your family.

Get Help from a Dedicated New Jersey Child Custody Attorney

If you need dedicated and talented legal help with custody, property division, divorce mediation, paternity, premarital agreements, child support, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the Union offices of family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro at 908-964-0102.

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