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When Will a Wisconsin Court Terminate Parental Rights?

 Posted on March 09, 2022 in Family Law

Waukesha County family law attorneyWisconsin law recognizes the importance of both parents’ involvement in a child’s life whenever possible. Terminating parental rights is taken seriously and only done in extreme circumstances. Sometimes parental rights are terminated because a judge is convinced that a parent cannot safely remain in their child’s life; other times, a parent willingly gives up their parental rights. Regardless of whether you feel your parental rights are threatened or you believe your child’s other parent should lose their parental rights, a child custody attorney can help you navigate the emotional and procedural complexities of terminating parental rights in Wisconsin. 

Involuntary Termination

Involuntary termination of parental rights usually happens when one parent has serious concerns about the other parent’s fitness. Wisconsin law allows termination of parental rights in several circumstances, including but not limited to: 

  • Abandonment - If a parent leaves a child with another person and does not communicate with the child for six months or more; or, when a court places a child in foster care or with another party and the parent does not communicate with the child for three months or more, it constitutes abandonment
  • Relinquishment - A parent who gives up a child before the child is three days old may permanently lose their parental rights 
  • Child abuse - Physical, mental, or emotional child abuse can be grounds for termination of parental rights 
  • Parental disability - If a parent suffers from serious mental illness or substance abuse issues, it may be unsafe for them to be in the presence of their child; if the disability presents a long-standing, ongoing issue, a parent may lose parental rights permanently

Voluntary Termination

There are some parents, especially fathers who did not plan on having a child and are not  interested in having one, who hope to have their parental rights voluntarily terminated. But Wisconsin does not often grant voluntary terminations; a child with financial support from only one parent is more likely to become dependent on state assistance and termination would allow parents to shirk their responsibilities at the expense of the rest of society. 

A parent who seeks voluntary termination of parental rights must do it in a way that courts will approve of. Often, this is done when another person is willing and able to adopt the child, such as a step-parent or grandparent. A termination hearing before a judge must take place in which the parent acknowledges they understand the implications of voluntary termination. 

Have a Conversation with a Skilled Muskego Parental Rights Lawyer

Whether you are worried about losing your parental rights or are a parent who feels your child’s other parent poses a serious danger to your child, consider getting help from an experienced Muskego parental rights attorney with Bucher, Wolff & Sonderhouse, LLP. We offer a judgment-free environment where you can ask hard questions and get the assertive representation you need. Call us today at 262-232-6699 for a free consultation.



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