How To Terminate Parental Rights in Utah

Judge with gavel deciding to terminate parental rights

How To Terminate Parental Rights in Utah

Some circumstances in your family can cause you to lose your parental rights over a child or children. Depending on the circumstances that caused the involuntary relinquishment of parental rights, a family court can or cannot restore the parental rights. We have put together information on legal grounds for the termination and restoration of parental rights in Utah.

Termination of Parental Rights

A judge may terminate the parental rights of one parent while leaving the legal rights of the other parent still intact. Both parents may also have their parental rights terminated. If the parental rights of both the parents get terminated, the state of Utah takes up the care of the child. The state may take steps for the adoption and placement of the child.

  • Parent declared incompetent or unfit – If the courts find enough grounds to show that the parent is unfit to have the child in custody or cannot take care of the kid, it may terminate her or his parental rights over the child.
  • Through a petition – A foster parent or any other interested party may file for termination of the parental rights regarding a particular child. The attorney general files a petition in this respect on behalf of the parent.
  • Consent – A parent can fill out a petition for consent to his or her rights being relinquished and provide reasons for making the move.
  • Abuse – If a parent abuses the child in the way of injury, sexual abuse, abandonment, or neglect, the court can terminate his or her rights if such acts are proven to have taken place.

In all of the above cases, the court rules with the interest of the relationship between the child with the child’s parent.

What is Considered Child Abandonment in Utah?

According to Utah Criminal Code §76-5-109 if you give somebody else the physical custody of your child and take off without truly talking about taking the child back, that is proof of abandonment.

When the Parental Rights Can Be Restated

  • Petition – For any child aged12 or older, a child custody attorney in Utah acting on behalf of the child may apply for the reinstatement of the parental rights - if 24 months have passed since the relinquishment, and there is a likelihood that the child may not be adopted before he or she turns 18.
  • Willingness to take care of the child – Before the petition can be concluded, the parent must show a willingness to have his or her rights reinstated. Moreover, the parent must have remedied circumstances that had caused the termination of the parental rights in the first place.
  • The parent reforms – The court must be satisfied that the child is not in any danger should he or she be in the custody of the parent. There might also be changed in the material circumstances that may have initially put the child in danger when under the care of the parent.
  • Termination of the rights of adoptive parents – Despite a gap in the law which does not talk of a case where the rights of the adoptive parents were terminated, and the child would like to reunite with the biological parents, the spirit of the law is to find permanency for the child. It tries to enable the children to reunite with the biological parents for the growth of the family unit at the earliest opportunity.

Seek Legal Assistance from Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah Family Law Attorney Eric M. Swinyard

The family law in Utah is a little complex and takes into account different factors affecting the health, development, and welfare of the children and the sanctity of the family unit. If you have parental rights proceeding in a court of law, it’s a good idea to hire an experienced family lawyer for assistance.

Eric Swinyard is an experienced lawyer who practices family law in Utah. We offer advice and represent you in court for the proceedings for the termination and restoration of parental rights. Contact us for assistance. Give us a call today at (801) 515-4133 to schedule a consultation. We conveniently have offices located in Salt Lake City and Provo Utah.