What Are the Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights in Wisconsin - Carlos Gamino

By Carlos Gamino

Sometimes it’s possible for the courts to determine that a parent is unfit to be with his or her children – and in those cases, the state often terminates parental rights. In order for that to be legal, the state has to have grounds for taking away parental rights.

What Are the Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights in Wisconsin?

The most common grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights include:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Abuse or neglect
  • Abuse or neglect of other kids in the home
  • Abandonment
  • Long-term mental illness of the parent
  • Failure to support or maintain contact with the child
  • Long-term alcohol-induced incapacity of the parent
  • Long-term drug-induced incapacity of the parent

The courts may also see that the parent has lost his or her rights to another child and choose to remove rights to a different child. Usually, these things only become grounds for termination of parental rights after the parent has failed to correct the conditions causing the problem. In most cases, the state must make a reasonable effort to help provide services to prevent the loss of parental rights or to put the child back in the parent’s home before permanently asking to revoke parental rights.

What About Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights?

Sometimes one parent petitions the court to voluntarily terminate his or her parental rights. In most cases, the court can only accept voluntary consent to a termination of parental rights if the parent appears at the hearing and the judge explains the permanence of the action.

Can I Ask the Court to Terminate My Ex’s Parental Rights During Divorce?

In most cases, you cannot ask the court to terminate your ex-spouse’s parental rights because you’re getting a divorce. Generally, the only ways the court would even consider this is if the other parent met the criteria for involuntary termination of parental rights or if there were another parent waiting to adopt the child.

However, if the other parent doesn’t agree to termination of his or her rights, you’re going to have a tough time convincing the court to do so.

Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Termination of Parental Rights in Wisconsin?

If someone is threatening to take away your parental rights, you may need legal representation. Call us at 484-383-6700 for a free consultation right now – we might be able to help you and your child.

Carlos Gamino