Terminating parental rights is a process that we get a lot of questions about. It’s also a very misunderstood process, and one that varies from state to state. We’ve listed a few pieces of information specific to Wisconsin and what parents (and other related parties) should know when they are researching information about terminating parental rights.
Adoption is a common reason parental rights are terminated.
The courts do grant a voluntary termination of rights when a step parent wants to adopt the child. In this case, both parents request a termination of parental rights. A step parent then files a petition for adoption. Usually, one parent cannot make the request to terminate a parent’s rights without the consent of the other and the courts are very reluctant to terminate a parent’s rights; there are circumstances where this is not always the case.
There are grounds for involuntary termination of rights.
In some cases, a father or mother’s rights can be terminated in Wisconsin. Usually, the termination occurs because of abandonment, neglect, abuse, incest, etc. This action can be taken by the government or another private petitioner.
Not paying child support or not being a “good parent” is not usually grounds for terminating parental rights. There are exceptions; contact an attorney with experience in family law to find out what the answer and next step is relating to your specific situation.