According to the law, parental rights are clearly defined as the duties and rights of a parent to decide on the major issues in a child’s life – for the best interests of that child. These duties include the responsibility to provide a child with clothing, food, and shelter, and to make possible all necessary day care and child support. Parental rights also involve deciding on a child’s schooling, religion, and health care, as well as the duty to fashion the morals and good character that a child should have.
The extinguishing or relinquishment of parental rights is a legal process whereby a mother or father has their parental rights terminated. Depending on the situation, parental rights may be ended either in a voluntary way or in an involuntary way.
In Colorado, a court can allow a non-custodial parent to voluntary conclude their parental rights only after wisely passing on many considerations and only if both biological parents agree. These concerns involve any pains the parent has taken to have a relation with the child, if there has been a history of neglect, whether the parent’s conduct places the child in harm’s way, and if child support has been afforded in both the past and in the present day.
Colorado family courts do not usually wish to end parental rights, as they think a child should have the opportunities that both parents may have to offer. They will only permit a self-chosen extinguishment of parental rights when it is in the best interests of the child. This could be in the situation of a birth parent impacted by drug addiction; substance abuse that could endanger their judgment. In some cases, courts may grant a non-custodial parent the choice to self-terminate parental rights if another individual is willing to take responsibility for the child by formally adopting the child, such as a child’s stepmother or stepfather.
It must be pointed out that a non-custodial parent cannot simply make the choice to give up parental rights on their own. The court first must confirm that the non-custodial parent terminating his or her rights is not doing so because of improper pressure or influence from others. A judge will also not grant a voluntary termination of parental rights just so the non-custodial parent can avoid paying child support. If child support payments are the main reason a non-custodial parent is seeking to terminate their parental rights, then they should instead try to change the conditions of those payments.
Typically, parental rights are terminated involuntarily by the state. Situations that could trigger this type of termination include failure to support a child, drug or alcohol dependency, criminal convictions and incarceration of a parent, or abandonment or failure to care for a child. For an involuntary termination of parental rights, neither parent’s consent is needed.