Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 128 governs Termination of Parental Rights matters. In all termination of parental rights proceedings, “the continuing needs of a child for proper physical, mental and emotional growth and development are the decisive considerations in proceedings for termination of parental rights.” The agency which provides child welfare services (Department of Child and Family Services), the probation officer, or any other person, including the mother of an unborn child, may file a petition to terminate parental rights. Generally, a petition to terminate parental rights must be filed in the county in which the child resides.
The primary consideration in a proceeding to terminate parental rights is whether the best interests of the child will be served by the termination. To terminate parental rights, the Court must include findings that:
- The best interests of the child would be served by the termination of parental rights; and
- The conduct of the parent or parents was the basis for a finding made pursuant to subsection 3 of NRS 432B.393 or demonstrated at least one of the following:
- Abandonment of the child;
- Neglect of the child;
- Unfitness of the parent;
- Failure of parental adjustment;
- Risk of serious physical, mental or emotional injury to the child if the child were returned to, or remains in, the home of his or her parent or parents;
- Only token efforts by the parent or parents:
- To support or communicate with the child;
- To prevent neglect of the child;
- To avoid being an unfit parent; or
- To eliminate the risk of serious physical, mental or emotional injury to the child; or
- With respect to termination of the parental rights of one parent, the abandonment by that parent.
In deciding whether to terminate parental rights, the Nevada Supreme Court has said that severance of the parent-child relationship is an “exercise of awesome power” and “tantamount to a civil death penalty.” As such, it is necessary that the person or agency who institutes proceedings to terminate parental rights prove by clear and convincing evidence that the child’s best interests will be served by the severance of the parent-child relationship and that there is parental fault (cause) for the termination.
The laws affecting termination of parental rights are continuously evolving as the Courts always consider the best interests of the child in conjunction with a finding of parental fault. The Cooley Law Firm has the experience to evaluate your case. Please call The Cooley Law Firm at (702) 265-4505 to schedule your consultation today.
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