Termination of a father’s rights cuts all ties between the child and its father. Although a father may relinquish his rights voluntarily, the law safeguards a child’s financial support from both parents. In instances a parent poses danger to a child, the authorities intervenes in a manner that may lead to the termination of a father’s rights. Since the main goal in the intervention is to safeguard the well being of the child, the authorities do not server parental ties in absence of a better plan (Baskerville, 2003). This caution is meant to reduce the instances of legal orphaning as this would result into a social crisis.
Although the grounds of severing the rights of a father vary from one jurisdiction to another, there are a significant number of similarities. The most common ones include neglect or abuse, abandonment, mental deficiency, murdering of siblings, and incarceration. Occasionally, a father may be denied rights if he never had any contact with the child or if he had his rights to other children terminated. Failure to provide parental support has also been a ground for terminating a father’s right to a child. However, each situation is approached on an individual basis, and in every instance, the interests of the child acts as the guiding principles (Gross, 2006).
Grounds for non-Termination
The state may declines to terminate a father’s rights citing non-compliance with certain conditions. As pointed out in the earlier section, measures are taken in an endeavor to avert a social crisis which may result if a jurisdiction ends up with a high number of legal orphans. In most cases, the state weighs the chances of the child getting adopted before settling on termination of rights. Some situations make it difficult for a child to find an adopting family. Examples are when the child is older than the average age of adoption or if he/she is severely damaged. In such circumstances, the termination of rights is not favored since the authorities do not expect the victim to find willing adoptive parents. In instances when the child has been placed under the custody of the state, the authorities are expected to facilitate the amelioration of the circumstances which led to the severing of parental rights. The circumstances could have been drug or alcohol addiction, or mental health challenges, and as such, the state is expected to facilitate the availing of treatment resources to the parent (Sifferman, 1997). There have been instances where juries have declined to terminate rights citing the failure of the state to provide treatment to the sick parents.
Fathers wishing for a voluntary termination are required to undergo a rigorous process. In fact, in instances where an adopting parent has not been found, a father is prohibited from relinquishing his parental rights. Some states requires the father to retain his parental rights until, for instance, the mother’s new partner indicate the willingness to adopt the baby. This is done in an endeavor to safeguard the baby’s interests. Relinquishing of the father’s rights is discouraged as it would overwhelm the custodian parent with the financial burden of raising the child. In special cases, consents of the custodial parents are sought.
If such a child is supported through public assistance, the jury declines the father’s request to relinquish the father’s rights. This applies even when the father has not been offering financial support to the child. It has been noted that some fathers endeavor to terminate their rights in instances where the state is likely to relinquish them. They take this step so as to avert the possibility of future terminations on other children as the jury will consider that the father acted with the baby’s interest at heart. This strategy has been rewarding for those fathers with treatable physical or mental challenges (Nolan & Wardle, 2006).
The Child’s Interest
All juries endeavor at safeguarding the child’s interests. Therefore, if the court considers relinquishing as hurting to the child, then it does not allow it. In instances where the jury regards adoption as the best option for the child, it evaluates the capability of the parent to meet the need s of the baby. If he can meet these needs within a reasonable amount of time, then the court settles on termination.
Prioritizing the Attachment
Children welfare agencies and courts encourage the continuance of the attachment between children and their parents. In cases where the father cannot provide for the child’s upkeep, the two institutions encourage an arrangement in which help can be availed to the child in its family setting. The goal is enable the child enjoy the fatherly/parental love which would be difficult to provide in other arrangements. In fact, the contemporary judicial arrangements are according fathers more rights as compared to the early and mid-1900s (Jeffery & Dachman, 1998).
Historically, it have been presumed that fathers’ rights over babies are few than those of mothers. However, this view has been changing of late. Several fathers have successfully challenged the decisions of their partners to give away the child for adoption to a third party. When a mother feels that she cannot handle the burden of raising a child, the father is accorded the first priority when the jury is weighing the best options for the child. The father is, however, required to demonstrate his commitment in providing for the child. This has altered the historical scenario where mothers have won over 70 percent of the primary custodial cases (Nolan & Wardle, 2006).
The discussion emphasizes on the importance of fathers’ rights over their children. In every instance, the interest of the child supersedes those of everyone else. As much as a father may claim his rights over a child, he must be of no danger to him. In cases involving children, adults are presumed to have the capacity to handle the outcomes as long as they are in the interest of their children. Nevertheless, a parent is accorded the first priority while the jury is searching for the best environment for the child. This strategy is taken in an endeavor to minimize cases of legal orphans who then trouble the state as it searches for an adopting family. Parental-child relationships are considered to be the foundations of future societies, a situation which prompts juries and authorities to facilitate parental childcare (Jeffery & Dachman, 1998). For this reason, juries demand for credible background information before curtailing the father’s rights.