The main goal of family court officials both in Hernando County and throughout the rest of Florida is to keep the family relationship intact. Having said that, there may be instances where it is believed to be the in best interests of a majority of those involved to terminate one’s parental rights. Such a drastic step is often only viewed as a last resort, yet in some cases, parents may indeed believe it to be the best option to protect their children. 

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, the circumstances under which one parent may often ask that the parental rights of the other be terminated include: 

  • That parent abandoning the child
  • That parent being incarcerated for what would constitute a majority of his or her kid’s childhood, or for crimes of a violent or sexual nature, or if the court determines that a continued association would be harmful to the child
  • That parent abusing the child
  • That parent murdering or seriously injuring another child
  • That parent having a history of substance abuse
  • That parent acting in a way that threatens the life, safety or emotional or physical well-being of the child

Similarly, the court can choose (on its own) to terminate the parental rights of one or both parents. Examples of when this can occur include when a child has been in state care for 12 of the previous 22 months, when parents show no initiative to complying with stipulations given to them to get their children back, or when a test administered at birth indicates the presence of any controlled substance in a baby’s blood, urine or meconium. Section 39.8055 of the Florida State Statutes shows in certain situations, a petition need not be filed to commence termination proceedings.