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Under what circumstances can parents lose their parental rights?

A parent could suffer the termination of his or her parental rights under various circumstances. Courts usually will not order the termination of parental rights, however, unless a parent presents some kind of risk to the child, has abandoned the child or is unfit to serve as a parent.

Here are some examples of circumstances in which a parent could lose his or her parental rights in Florida court. Loss of custody could result if the parent:

  • Regularly or severely abused the child
  • Sexually abused the child
  • Psychologically tortured or abused the child
  • Inflicted emotional damage onto the child
  • Neglected the child's basic needs
  • Suffers from chronic mental illness
  • Has a drug or alcohol abuse problem
  • Cannot or will not support the child
  • Does not stay in contact with the child/abandoned the child
  • Does not offer the child the chance to go to school
  • Was convicted of a violent crime against a family member or the child

The circumstances under which a parent could lose his or her parental rights are virtually endless, but the above scenarios are some of the most common reasons why parents lose their custody rights.

Generally speaking, however, courts prefer to allow parents to continue having contact with their children, and it's only in true cases of abandonment, neglect or abuse, or where a parent poses a risk or danger to the child, that courts will end parental privileges.

If you're trying to terminate the parental rights of the other parent of your child, or if you are facing a challenge to your parental rights, you may want to educate yourself on Florida family law as it applies to the termination of such rights. Armed with this knowledge, you can better advocate for your child and your rights in court.

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