Termination of Parental Rights in North Carolina
There are many instances in which a parent has abandoned, abused, failed to support or neglected a child, or where a parent has voluntarily cut off a relationship with a child. In those situations, the other parent, a person seeking to adopt the child, or an agency with custody of the child may pursue a petition to terminate that parent’s parental rights.
Often, a petition for termination of parental rights is brought by a parent whose new spouse seeks to adopt the child or by adoptive parents seeking to terminate the rights of a parent whose consent may be necessary for an adoption. However, termination of parental rights actions may be brought outside of the context of an adoption, such as where a parent has not supported a child or has abandoned the child.
In order for a parent’s rights to be terminated in North Carolina, the court must find that grounds for termination exist and that termination of the parent’s rights would be in the child’s best interests. The grounds for termination of parental rights may be found at N.C.G.S. 7B-1111. A parent may not bring an action to terminate his or her own rights and may not “sign away rights” except in the event of signing a consent or relinquishment for an adoption.