San Jose Family Law Attorney Discusses Parental Rights Likely to be Terminated in Child Abuse Case
A couple in Texas is set for trial on termination of parental rights following CPS intervention and removal of the parties’ three children. A year ago, the children were removed at the ages of 2, 1, and infancy, when they tested positive for amphetimines and methamphetimines. When CPS takes the children away, the situation is pretty much as bad as it gets. As the parents fight for custody of their children, the foster parents are ready and willing to adopt the children.
The juvenile dependency system is a complicated system that balances parental rights, safety and welfare of the children. Federal law controls much of the juvenile dependency system, particularly the time frame, the various hearings, and when a permanency plan is considered. In California, the state may seek to terminate parental rights after reunification services have been provided, parents have been notified, the child has been found to be adoptable, and a hearing has been set. By statute, the preference is that when the family cannot be reunified, parental rights are terminated and the child is placed for adoption. The burden of proof is “clear and convincing evidence,” which is below “reasonable doubt” but higher than “preponderance of the evidence,” the lowest and most common standard. Another way to think about clear and convincing evidence is “leaves no substantial doubt.”
The parent facing termination can avoid termination if he or she can show that reunification services were not provided, or the services were not reasonable. Furthermore, even if services were reasonable and the child is adoptable, the court must not terminate if one of the six following circumstances exists and would be detrimental to the child:
• The parent has maintained regular visitation and contact with the child, and the child would benefit from continuing the relationship with the parent.
• Child over the age of 12 objects to the termination.
• The child is placed in a residential facility, and adoption is unlikely or undesirable.
• The current relative custodian or foster parent is unable or unwilling to adopt the child but is willing to continue to provide a stable and permanent environment, and removal of the child from that home would be detrimental to the child’s emotional well-being.
• Termination would substantially interfere with sibling relationships.
• For Indian Children only: If there is a compelling reason given that termination is not in the best interests of the child.
If you or someone you know is involved in a juvenile dependency case, or any other child custody dispute, professional legal advice is a must-have. Our attorneys here at Sagaria Law have experience in all types of custody matters, whether they are incident to a divorce, paternity action, dependency or guardianship. We have five Bay Area locations, including San Jose, Fremont, Monterey, Salinas and Redwood City, and we offer a free consultation either in person or over the phone. Call today at 1-800-941-6730 or visit us at www.sagarialaw.com to schedule your free consultation!