Providing Access To Justice For Citizens And Noncitizens Alike

When can your parental rights be terminated?

On Behalf of | May 16, 2024 | Child Custody

If you are a parent, the bond with your child is one of the most sacred relationships. And having your rights to your child legally stripped away is perhaps one of the most consequential and emotionally wrenching experiences one could go through.

While the parent-child relationship is meant to be safeguarded, there are cases when that bond may be legally severed due to legal circumstances that make continuing the parent-child relationship unsuitable or unsafe for the child. What are the major legal grounds that could lead to such an outcome?


One of the primary legal justifications for termination is abandonment of the child by the parent. Under Ohio law, this is defined as the failure to visit or maintain contact with your child for at least 90 consecutive days, regardless of whether child support was paid during that time. Essentially, abandonment demonstrates a lack of commitment to the parental role and relationship.

Chronic substance abuse

When a parent’s chronic substance abuse issues cause them to repeatedly neglect to provide proper care and a stable environment for their child, it can lead to parental rights termination. If your alcoholism, drug addiction or abuse of other substances renders you unable to care for your child’s needs adequately, the courts may decide to sever the parent-child relationship.

Long-term mental Illness or incapacity

If you suffer from a long-term, untreated mental illness, developmental disability or other incapacitating condition that prevents you from being able to properly care for your child, with no significant possibility of recovery or treatment compliance, termination of your parental rights may occur. The inability to adequately parent due to the mental condition must be evaluated as ongoing.

While terminating a parent’s rights is an extremely serious legal matter, the courts may take this step when overwhelming evidence indicates it is in the child’s best interests for healthy development and well-being. That said, seeking legal representation can help you safeguard your parental rights.