Some parent-child relationships may negatively impact the child’s life. Here’s how to terminate parental rights in Washington.

In Washington state, individuals can terminate parental rights voluntarily, or a separate party may file a petition to terminate parental rights involuntarily. Parents must consent to terminate parental rights voluntarily. The filing parent must prove the other parent’s negative impact on the child’s life.

Related: How to Fight Termination of Parental Rights in Pennsylvania

Parental Rights in Washington State

When a child is born in Washington State, the state legally grants the mother parental rights. The father can earn parental rights by establishing paternity. One can establish paternity if the child’s mother agrees he is the father and both parties sign the child’s birth certificate. If the parents did not sign the birth certificate for paternity, they could file a paternity affidavit. Paternity affidavits claim the man is the child’s father even if the parents are separated. Fathers may also get a DNA test to prove paternity.

Parental rights allow parents to make all decisions about the child’s life. A parent seeking parental rights should contact a lawyer to prove their parenting is in the child’s best interest.

Terminating Parental Rights in Washington State

Parents in Washington state can terminate parental rights voluntarily or have another party terminate their parental rights involuntarily. Parents may terminate parental rights before or after the child’s birth.

Voluntary Parental Rights Termination in Washington State

In Washington state, voluntary termination of parental rights occurs when a parent chooses to give up their child. The parent must consent to adoption under their terms. The state will not consider the termination voluntary if another party pressures or forces the parent to give up parental rights.

The Washington court will determine if the voluntary termination was genuine and if the termination of parental rights is in the child’s best interest. The state can terminate parental rights if the court finds the reasons for termination valid.

Involuntary Parental Rights Termination in Washington State

Washington state believes in most cases, it is in the child’s best interest to maintain all parent-child relationships. The court may terminate parental rights if the parent negatively impacts the child’s life.

Grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights in Washington state:

  • Abandonment of the child
  • Child abuse
  • Committed a violent crime against a family member
  • Convicted of murdering a child
  • Drug or alcohol addiction
  • Incarceration
  • Long-term mental illness
  • Neglect of the child

A Washington court may grant the termination of parental rights if the filing party proves the parent violates any of the state’s grounds.

Individuals intending to terminate parental rights must present valid reasons to the court. Individuals must include all required information in the petition. The filing party can find the correct forms to terminate parental rights online.

FAQs About Terminating Parental Rights in Washington State

Can I regain parental rights in Washington state if the state has already terminated them?

A parent wishing to regain parental rights after the state terminated them must go through the adoption process because they no longer are legally the child’s guardian. The state may not approve the adoption unless the parent and child prove it is in the child’s best interest.

Does my child have a say in terminating parental rights in Washington state?

In Washington state, a child may voice their opinion to the state in terminating parental rights if they are age twelve or above. If the child is under twelve, the court will seek the child’s best interest.

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If you or a loved one would like to know more about how to terminate parental rights in Washington, get your free consultation with one of our family law attorneys today!