Jun. 05, 2023

Termination of Parental Rights in North Carolina

termination of parental rights with sign on the piece of paperDo you have questions about parental rights termination? Maybe you’re worried about an abusive situation, or you are considering relinquishing parental rights to your child.

Each state has parental rights termination laws, including North Carolina. You’ll need to contact a North Carolina family attorney for complete information on this state—read on for some basic information.

Grounds for the Termination of Parental Rights

Terminating parental rights is a big decision and not one to take lightly. However, there are some conditions that the court may grant under North Carolina family law.


If the custodial parent has abandoned a child, then that parent’s rights could be terminated. Likewise, if the father refuses to legitimize a child or to be included on the birth certificate, it is also considered abandonment.

Maybe one parent has failed to pay their child support for a year. It could be considered abandonment, depending on why they have failed to pay.

Incapable Parent

Sometimes a parent wants and loves their child, but for some reason, long-term physical or serious mental illness prevents the proper care for the child.

Abusive Parent

A parent with a history of violence or abuse, especially against a child, can have their rights end in the interest of healing and safety for the child.

There are other conditions under which the termination of parental rights can take place. A family law lawyer in Greensboro can discuss this further as to what these conditions entail.

Who Can Terminate Parental Rights?

North Carolina doesn’t allow anyone to file a petition for termination of parental rights. Instead, only these people are allowed to file.

  • Social Service Agencies should believe it is in the child’s best interest.
  • A parent can file against the other, not as retaliation but again in the child’s best interest.
  • A child’s guardian who believes a parent is not good for the child’s best interests.
  • Those presumed to be the adoptive parents, including stepparents who have had the child living with them and one biological parent for at least two years.
  • A biological parent can also file to terminate their rights. For example, they can file to self-terminate so that a stepparent can adopt the child.

Termination of Parental Rights & Child Support

Child support has to be paid until your child reaches the age of 18 in most situations. However, the court can change that if the financial situation changes with either biological parent. When this happens, any request for a revision in child support must be made through a North Carolina family attorney and within a family law court.

Revisions or termination of child support can also be filed for other reasons, including the following:

  • Your child married as a minor before the age of 18.
  • You and your child’s other biological parent have reunited
  • You find out the child is not your biological child
  • Your child has joined the military or graduated from school.
  • Your child no longer lives with the other parent that you are paying support to for the child.

Why You Need a Family Law Lawyer in Greensboro

Losing or relinquishing your parental rights or filing to have a parent’s rights removed can quickly become a mess, he said, she said proceedings. There are usually a lot of emotions involved, and emotions are not laws. Proof of why a child would thrive better without a parent or parents is needed.An attorney is an advocate for the child and understands the legal process. They can guide the petitioner through the process or even file the petition on behalf of the client. An attorney can fully explain the paperwork involved and assist you in following the court proceedings fully and efficiently.

You will want the best North Carolina family law attorney available. Reach out to Mercedes Chut, a family law lawyer in Greensboro. She will help you navigate termination of parental rights laws and court proceedings with professionalism, compassion, and expertise every step of the way.

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