Termination of parental rights means the complete legal severance of the parent-child relationship, ending all authority, responsibilities, lines of inheritance and rights between the parent and child.
Termination is an extraordinary legal action which is taken only when the welfare of the child demands it: either to protect the child from unpreventable maltreatment or inevitable neglect in the child's own parental environment or to make it possible for the child to become a part of a new family when both biological parents are unwilling or unable to raise the child.
Obtaining termination is deliberately difficult. The statutes are constructed to assist parents to raise their own children and to discourage the legal creation of orphans and rootless children through statutory manipulation by parents who simply do not want to shoulder their responsibilities. The rights of this type of parent can be terminated if there is a new family to replace the entire biological one, or in the case of a non-custodial parent, if there is a legally recognized step-parent who has petitioned the court to replace that parent MCL 710.51(6).
Termination may only occur through judicial action and only according to the particular statutory grounds of either the child protection provisions of the Juvenile Code ( MCL 712A.1 et seq.) or the Adoption Code ( MCL 710.21 et seq.).
A. Termination: The Juvenile Code - Child Protective Proceedings:
The purpose of termination in Protective proceedings is to free the child from a relationship with an unsafe, unfit or disappeared parent. Adoption by another family is the anticipated and usual next step for a child whose parents' rights have been terminated but adoption is not the reason for termination under this code.
B. Termination: The Adoption Code
The purpose of termination in the Adoption Code is to make a child legally available for adoption. Except in the case of step-parent adoptions, all parental rights must be terminated for the child to be available for adoption. Termination may be achieved by Release, Consent, Disclaimer by a putative father or judicial determination.
Within 21 days after an order of termination in an adoption proceeding, a parent has a right to rehearing and an appeal of termination of parental rights on a voluntary or involuntary termination.
For more information about termination of parental rights, contact the Juvenile Court.