The termination of parental rights (TPR) severs all legal ties between the parent and the child. To have a TPR a court must find that grounds for the termination exist and that the TPR is in the child’s best interest.
TPR proceedings in North Carolina occur in juvenile court before a district court judge without a jury. The TPR proceeding is divided into two parts: (1) the adjudication stage where the petitioner has to prove the ground for termination, and (2) the disposition stage where the judge determines whether the TPR is in the child's best interest. To obtain a TPR, a petitioner must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the grounds exist for termination and that it is in the child's best interest for the termination to occur.
There are ten (10) grounds for terminating parental rights in North Carolina. These are set out under NCGS 7B-1111. A petitioner only needs to prove one ground to successfully win a TPR. Most notably, grounds for terminating parental rights may occur if the parent has neglected or abused the child, abandoned the child, failed to legitimate the child, or incapable of providing proper care and support for the child. For a more intimate review of the grounds, please see NCGS 7B-1111.
As stated above, even if the petitioner proves one of the grounds justifying termination, the judge must still find that TPR is in the child's best interest. Thus, a hearing with sworn testimony is required for all TPRs. A parent cannot simply consent to a TPR, even if they do not file an answer or appear at the hearing.
Adkins Law is located in Huntersville, NC and serves Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, Iredell County, Gaston County, Cabarrus County, and the Lake Norman area. Contact Adkins Law to schedule a consultation with a family lawyer in Huntersville NC.