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What are the parental termination rules in Florida?

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2022 | Child Custody

Parents naturally enjoy certain inalienable rights when it comes to their children. However, according to Florida law, family courts can terminate parental rights under certain circumstances. The rules are outlined in Title V, Chapter 39, Section 806 of the Florida Statutes.

How does Florida define parental rights?

The state grants parents certain guardianship privileges. In Florida, these include the right to:

  • Spend time with your children
  • Develop a relationship with your children
  • Have a say in medical decisions regarding your children
  • Have a say in education decisions affecting your children
  • Determine who has access to your children

So long as individuals can prove their maternity or paternity and don’t violate applicable regulations, they can petition for parental rights.

Reasons for termination of parental rights in Florida

Family law courts can formally terminate parental rights under certain circumstances. These include:

  • Voluntary parental surrender
  • Conduct that threatens the well-being, life or safety of the child — whether mental, emotional, or physical
  • Abandonment
  • Incarceration
  • Physical and sexual abuse
  • Egregious conduct on the part of a parent
  • Violations of an established case plan
  • Substance abuse
  • Rights termination of another child

Ultimately, children’s welfare is the court’s top priority, and judges always aim to act in the minor’s best interest. An authorized party — either a custodial parent or guardian ad litem — can file the necessary paperwork. In most cases, the petitioner must detail why they want the other parent’s rights curtailed.

Parental rights can be permanently or temporarily revoked. If it’s the latter, the affected party must use legal avenues to restore their privileges.