Family: Termination of Parental Rights

Authored By: Legal Aid of North Carolina

Quick Facts


The person seeking to terminate the parental rights of another has the responsibility of convincing the court that there are specific reasons authorized by NC law to terminate the parental rights of a defendant.


Some of the reasons to terminate the parental rights of someone are:

1. A court has found that the child has been abused or neglected by the person whose rights are being terminated.

2. One parent has been granted legal custody and the other parent, without justification, failed to pay child support.

3. If the child was born out of wedlock and the parent failed to acknowledge the child.

4. The parent is incapable of providing proper care and supervision of the child because of mental illness, substance abuse or other condition.

5. The parent has abandoned the child for at least 6 consecutive months prior to filing the petition.

To determine if your specific circumstances meet the requirements of NC Law for termination of parental rights, you should consult with a lawyer.

A poor defendant unable to hire a lawyer is entitled to appointed counsel. In some situations the court may also appoint a lawyer to represent the interests of the child.


A petition to terminate the parental rights of a person can be brought only by the following persons:

1. Either parent to terminate the parental rights of the other parent. This means that a parent cannot terminate his own parental rights.

2. A person appointed guardian of the person of the child.

3. A person with whom the child has lived for 2 continuous years preceding the filing of the petition.

4. Others, such as the County Department of Social Services.

If the name or identity of the parent whose rights are being terminated is not known, the Court will conduct a hearing to determine the name or identity of the parent and decide how the case should proceed.  


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Last Review and Update: Jun 22, 2012
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