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What are the grounds for terminating parental rights in Florida?

When it comes to the safety of your children, you as a parent are likely to do whatever you can to ensure it. However, complications may arise when it is the other parent who is the safety risk.

Divorce and other custody arrangements help establish certain protections, timelines and distances between your children and a potentially negligent parent. In more extreme cases, Florida has statutes designed to terminate a person’s parental rights if the courts deem it necessary.

Abandonment and surrender

If a parent abandons a child and a diligent search fails to find them within 60 days, that abandonment may constitute said termination. A parent may also voluntarily surrender their rights, though it is important to ensure that they do so under no duress.

Abuse and incarceration

If the courts deem that the continued involvement of a parent in a child’s life threatens life, safety, or the child’s health, there may be cause to terminate parental rights. If your spouse serves jail time for a significant portion of a child’s minority, that may constitute it as well. Evidence supporting these claims, such as photos or testimony, helps to clarify to the courts what is in the child’s best interests.

Preparation and safety

Your parental rights are what allow you to make choices for your child’s future. When your choices conflict with the child’s other parent, that may cause serious tensions. During a divorce, it is important to remain calm and organized so that the process goes smoothly. When emotions run high and your spouse is a safety risk to your child, you may have options to appeal to the courts.


Christine S. Cook has earned a reputation in the legal community for her professionalism and among her clients for the care and personal attention she gives to every case.

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