Skillfully Explaining Matters In Adoption And Termination Of Parental Rights
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Indeed, under recent amendments to Pennsylvania’s Adoption Act, an agency or anyone representing the parties in an adoption must provide notice to a prospective adoptive parent, a birth parent and a child who can be reasonably expected to understand that a prospective adoptive parent and a birth relative of a child have the option to enter into a voluntary agreement for continuing contact or communication. A “birth relative” is defined as “[a] parent, grandparent, stepparent, sibling, uncle or aunt of the child’s birth family, whether the relationship is by blood, marriage or adoption.” Those individuals involved in an adoption must understand that the notice requirement must be complied with.
The termination of someone’s parental rights can occur through a voluntary or involuntary process. Pennsylvania law provides for nine separate grounds on which a parent’s rights can be involuntarily terminated. Such grounds include:
•· The parent by conduct continuing for a period of at least six months has evidenced a settled purpose of relinquishing parental claim to a child or has refused or failed to perform parental duties
•· Repeated abuse or neglect by the parent
•· The parent is the father of a child conceived as a result of a rape or incest
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Regardless of whether the termination process is voluntary or involuntary, it is critical that you know what your rights are so that you can protect yourself and your child. Ignorance of the law can result in you forever losing your parental rights. If you have questions in this area of the law, contact an experienced family law attorney at Shay, Santee, Kelhart & Deschler LLC in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, or call us at 610-295-5328.