Defending Against The Termination Of Parental Rights

There is a reason why the termination of parental rights is sometimes referred to as "the civil death penalty." Having your parental rights terminated is among the most severe steps that a civil court judge will take.

Under Mississippi law, grounds for terminating parental rights include:

  • Repeated acts of abuse
  • Abandonment of a child under age 3 for six months or over age 3 for one year
  • A parent has been medically diagnosed with a mental or physical illness that is unlikely to change and that leaves the parent unable to provide adequate care for a child
  • A parent suffers from alcoholism or drug addiction and fails to complete treatment
  • A parent is unable or unwilling to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care for a child
  • A parent's neglect or abuse has resulted in an extreme antipathy by the child toward the parent
  • The parent is convicted of sexual battery of a child, rape of a child or other lewd criminal acts on a minor

Defending Parents' Rights

At the Law Offices of Mel Coxwell, we understand there are times when terminating someone's parental rights is warranted. However, there are other times when a petition to terminate parental rights is the byproduct of a custody dispute or a dispute between other family members.

In some instances, a former spouse or partner remarries, and the new stepparent wishes to adopt a minor stepchild. To do so, the child's other biological parent must forfeit his or her parental rights. If the parent is unwilling to forfeit his or her parental rights, the other parties may petition the court to terminate those rights.

There is a limited amount of time to respond to a petition to terminate someone's parental rights. If you have a received a notice that such a petition has been filed, it is important to enlist the help of a knowledgeable family law attorney who understands how to defend you.

The First Step Is To Have Us Review Your Case

Mr. Coxwell is a lawyer who brings more than 25 years of experience to family law matters. He helps parents who want to retain their parental rights and continue to be a positive presence in their child's life. Call 601-724-8723 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation. We work with clients throughout central Mississippi from our office in Brandon.