The termination of parental rights in Connecticut often involve claims of abandonment. A lack of an ongoing parent-child relationship is also frequently claimed as a ground when abandonment is alleged. Makes sense in that there is considerable factual overlap between these two concepts.
There are two prongs to the claim of no ongoing parent-child relationship. First, the court must find that no parent-child relationship currently exists. Second, the court determines whether it would be detrimental to the child’s best interest to allow time for such a relationship to develop.
The feelings of the child for the parent are given great weight by the judge. In fact, the ultimate question is whether the child has positive feelings for the parent. When the child’s feelings are ambivalent, the judge will find that no positive, emotional aspects of the relationship exist.
This ground contemplates a relationship that would result if a parent had met, on a continuing basis, the physical, emotional, moral and educational needs of his or her child.
Watch for the argument that a parent was somehow prevented from maintaining a relationship with their child. Probate Courts are required to evaluate the relationship in light of parent’s limited access to the child. So, if a custodial parent “shut out” the non-custodial parent this might be a successful defense.
If a Termination of Parental Rights case goes to trial, a lawyer should usually be retained. Testimony from a psychologist or similar mental health professional also helps establish the required findings needed for a successful trial outcome.
A case involving the Termination of Parental Rights in Connecticut can be very contentious. Please contact me if you wish to discuss your situation.