New York operates under the 'best interests of the child' legal standard. In all child custody cases, state courts will make their decision based off of what is best for a child’s overall well-being. The desires of the parents are secondary. Though, there is a strong presumption that it is in a child’s best interest to have a positive relationship with both of their parents. Unfortunately, as we all know, that is not always possible. In fact, in some cases, it is in the best interests of a child to have no contact with a parent at all. In these cases, parental rights can be terminated, even over the objections of a parent. Here, our experienced Syracuse child custody lawyer highlights the five grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights in New York State.
- Intentional Abandonment
If a parent intentionally abandons their child for a period longer than six months, their parental rights can be terminated. It can sometimes be difficult to assess what exactly constitutes abandonment, but merely attempting to make contact with the child over the phone is generally not sufficient to prove that there was no abandonment.
- Physical or Emotional Abuse
If a child has been subject to physical or emotional abuse at the hands of their parent, that parent's rights can be terminated. These are very serious situations. If you suspect a child is being abused, please take action.
- Perpetual Neglect
Beyond direct abuse, New York parents can also lose their rights if they consistently neglect their children. Parental neglect is a very serious issue and it can take a wide variety of forms.
- Incarceration and Criminal Convictions
Depending on the crime, a conviction may result in a parent’s rights being automatically terminated. Very serious crimes such as murder, rape and child sex abuse are sufficient to prove a parent is unfit. Incarceration for less serious crimes could also lead to a loss of parental rights, but only if the incarcerated parent makes no effort to maintain their relationship with their child while behind bars.
- Mental Impairment
Finally, in some cases, parents can lose their rights if a severe mental impairment prevents them from being able to properly care for the child. When this happens, it is certainly not a judgement on the parent, but merely a necessary action to protect the health and safety of the child.
Contact Our Team Today
If you have any questions or concerns about parental rights termination in New York, we can help. To get immediate assistance with your case, please contact us today by calling (315) 488-5544 or reaching out to us directly through our website. We will get back to you promptly. At the Bombardo Law Office, P.C., we represent parents in Syracuse and throughout the surrounding communities.