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Termination of Parental Rights


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Under Indiana law, a termination of parental rights occurs when a court issues an order that permanently ends all legal, social, and financial responsibility between the child and her parents. The parents have no rights to custody or visitation of the child. The parents also have no duty to future support of the child, but must pay any past due support obligations until they are satisfied, see Indiana Legal Services’ web resources.

Indiana law provides for the voluntary termination of parental rights, when it is determined by a court, on recommendation of the Department of Child Services that such a termination of rights is in the best interests of the child. The parent whose rights are to be terminated must be fully informed of his or her rights by the court before an order is entered.

Usually, children are best served with the full integration of both parents in their lives in every way. Where parents live apart and there is extraordinary conflict, it may not be possible for both parents to be involved in the children’s lives.

While I recommend to every single parent to seek to create an equal balance of parenting time and support for the children, where this is not possible, and an amicable alternative does not exist – it can sometimes be in everyone’s best interests to terminate parental rights.

Typically, this would be the case if one parent is completely unable or unwilling to spend adequate time with the child, and a sizeable support arrearage is mounting. After all, a custodial parent who is unwilling to allow a child to have ample time with the otehr parent should not expect support from that parent.

Again, this is a decision of last resort. Even to parents who are substantially alienated from their children and forced to pay support nonetheless, I do not recommend this course of action until every other avenue of rebuilidng the relationship has been exhausted.



  1. Shaun says:

    If a father was talked into voluntary termination of my children. I was told by my case worker that i would still have rights and it would be the same as it was. My Mother is the one who took them in and is the one wanting to adopt them. She uses them to make me do what she wants. I never failed a drug screen or missed a visitation. I was not even the one who got them takin my ex-wife got them taken 2 weeks after we split. My mom and my case worker said i should sign them over so my mom would get more help with them. Every day the all say they want to live with me. Is there any way to get my rights back? Please help!!!!!!

  2. Erin says:

    Is it somewhere somehow the tiniest possability that a parent who had a drug problem and all rights were permanatley invoulantarily terminated. to maybe 5 years later have there life completely in oreder gain back custody to the child in the state of indiana ?????????????????

  3. Amy says:

    Hi my name is Amy and I lost 3 of my children by termination of parental rights! at the time it was the best decision for the children but I am on my feet and doing good now. is there anyway possible for me to try to get my children back?

  4. Lori Garde says:

    I have a further question. If the father of the child (parents not married) has nothing to do with the child for five years since she was born, has he given up his legal rights? No support of any kind was ever received. He saw for about an hour the day after she was born.

  5. libby says:

    If a parent chooses to voluntarily terminate parental rights (due to allegations of abuse/ neglect) but then have more children..are those children affected in any way?

  6. robert says:

    I have a son in indiana whom I have almost no contact with because I live in nebraska and don’t have the means to travel to visit. His mother is now married and her husband and herself requested that I relinquish parental rights so he could adopt my son and have his name changed. I am unsure of how the process works and need advice desperately. Thank you

    • We can assist you on an advisory basis for a reduced fee with rates at $135 per hour with a $500 retainer. If we do need to go to court on your behalf, we would need to charge our standard rates to do this ($200-275 per hour).

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