A previous article explored the possibility of custody being taken away from a parent. This should not be confused with parental powers. To begin, loss of custody will not affect the legal relationship between the child and parent, but instead the living arrangements. Here, you may lose the ability to make decisions about your child’s day-to-day care, but you may still request visitation. On the other hand, if parental powers are terminated, a parental will lose physical and legal custody of the child. The parent will no longer have any part in deciding the child’s day-to-day upbring, all inheritance rights are lost, and visitation will only be allowed through the consent of the child’s parent who does still have rights. In essence, it will be as if the party is not at all a parent to the child.

The process of terminating a parent’s power over a child is complex and emotionally charged. It is governed by Georgia Code Section 19-7-1. Georgia law states that until a child reaches the age of 18 or becomes emancipated, the child shall remain under the control of his or her parents, who are entitled to the child’s services and proceeds of the child’s labor. In the event that a court has awarded custody of the child to one parent, only the parent who has custody of the child is entitled to the child’s services and the proceeds of the child’s labor. Parental power shall be lost by:

  • Voluntary contract releasing the right to a third person;
  • Consent to the adoption of the child by a third person;
  • Failure to provide necessaries for the child or abandonment of the child
  • Consent to the child’s receiving proceeds of his own labor, which consent shall be revocable at any time;
  • Consent to the marriage of the child, who thus assumes inconsistent responsibilities;
  • Cruel treatment of the child;
  • A superior court order terminating parental rights in an adoption proceeding; or
  • A superior court order terminating parental rights of the legal father or the biological father who is not the legal father of the child

As this statute details, these cases are most often brought to accomplish adoption proceedings.  This is because terminating the rights of a parent will allow another party to adopt the child. For instance, a stepparent may wish to adopt the step child. In order for this to occur, the parental rights of the party the stepparent is not married to must first be terminated. Other times, these cases involve the safety of a child and ensuring that the parental rights of a parent who is putting the child in danger are terminated.
If a case has been initiated against you to terminate your parental power or if you would like to initiate this type of case, please contact the experienced attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum. We will help to explain this process with you and the unique circumstances of your case. Our dedicated attorneys will work to represent you and ensure that your rights are protected.