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Adoption Preferred When Voluntarily Terminating Parental Rights

Posted on in Adoption

Adoption Preferred When Voluntarily Terminating Parental RightsTerminating a parent’s rights is not a decision that Illinois courts reach easily or without a compelling reason. A court may restrict a parent’s right to see a child if that parent is unfit or a threat. A disinterested parent can waive his or her right to parenting time and decision-making. However, it is rare for a court to grant a request to voluntarily terminate parental rights – even if both parents agree to it – unless there is another adult willing to adopt the child.

Why Voluntary Termination Is Rarely Granted

The legal parents of a child have both rights and responsibilities that cannot be surrendered or taken away without court approval. Child support is a vital financial responsibility that a court cannot eliminate unless it is terminating someone’s legal status as a parent. If it was easy for parents to voluntarily terminate their rights, some would do so in order to avoid continued child support payments. Instead, Illinois believes that it is in the best interest of a child to have two parents to financially support him or her.


A court is more likely to grant a request to terminate parental rights in cases of adoption. The adoptive parent, such as a new spouse, agrees to take on the financial responsibility for the child, which satisfies one of the court’s largest concerns about terminating parental rights. However, the court will not terminate a parent’s rights against his or her wishes. Either the parent must willingly surrender his or her parental rights or the state can petition to terminate a parent’s rights by proving that he or she is unfit in ways such as:

  • Abandoning the child;
  • Failing to visit or talk to the child for at least a year;
  • Showing a history of abusive or neglectful behavior;
  • Not making a good-faith effort to financially support the child;
  • Endangering the child due to substance abuse; or
  • Being incarcerated for a severe offense, such as murder.

A co-parent can best assist the state in requesting an involuntary termination of parental rights by cooperating with investigators.

Contact a St. Charles Family Law Attorney

Illinois courts will protect children from a parent who endangers them but might not terminate that parent’s rights if it means that only one parent will be financially supporting them. A Kane County family law lawyer at Goostree Law Group can discuss what circumstance allow the termination of parental rights and how adoption may help. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.


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