Grounds for Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship in New Hampshire
According to New Hampshire law Section 170-C:5, there are seven situations which can lead to a person petitioning to have a parent-child relationship terminated. These include the following:
1. The child has been abandon by the parent. If a parent leaves their child in the care of another party or by themselves with no communication or support for at least 6 months, this can constitute child abandonment. Additional evidence can be given in showing that the parent made little to no attempt to contact the child during the 6 months period.
2. The parent have continuously neglected or failed to provide the child with necessary education or medical care for mental, emotional or physical health problems. This does not include parents who financially cannot afford treatment, but rather parents who refuse to give their child proper care. This is also not applicable to parents who follow certain recognized religious groups who choose prayer as a form of medical treatment for healing purposes. If a parent provides a lack of care for at least 6 months, the child may be deemed by the court to have their relationship terminated.
3. Parents found guilty of negligence or abusing their child under RSA 169-C who have continued to demonstrate the same patterns of neglect or abuse and have not corrected these conditions within one year despite reasonable efforts by the court to have them corrected can lead to termination of parental rights.
4. A parent who is this mentally deficient due to a mental illness and is ruled incapable of giving proper care to child may have their parental rights terminated. Their mental state should be proven by the testimony of at least two licensed psychiatrist or clinical psychologists that the parent is mentally unstable and caring for a child for a long period of time would be placing the child in an “unstable or impermanent environment.”
5. If the parent was involved in sexual, physical, emotional or mental abuse of a child under RSA 169-C, they may have their parental rights terminated if the court believes that returning custody to the parent will lead in further “substantial” harm to the child. If any of the following are proven in court, they could be evidence that a substantial harm would be placed on the child upon return to parents' custody:
- The parent treated the child in a way that resulted in severe harm to the child
- The parent's treatment of the child has continued despite reasonable efforts of the court to change such conduct
- The parent's treatment of the child has continued over a long period of time or the parent has demonstrated a pattern of “disregard for the child's health and welfare”
- The parent's abusive conduct is likely to continue if the child is returned
Proof of these allegations must be made by at least two of the following professionals:
- A licensed psychiatrist
- A clinical psychologist
- A physician
- A social worker who possesses a master's degree in social work and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers
6. If a parent has been incarcerated due to a felony offense, is unable to discharge their child care responsibilities and has been found guilty of child abuse under RSA 169-C, the court may review to see if the felony offense will require incarceration long enough that it would prevent the child from having proper parental care and protection. If the court believes that the child would be left in an unstable environment, the parent-child relationship may be terminated. Incarceration by itself is not grounds for termination of parental rights; these other criteria must be met as well.
7. A parent who has been convicted of any of the following felony offenses listed under RSA 170-C:5 VII may have their parental rights terminated:
(a) Murder, pursuant to RSA 630:1-a or 630:1-b, of another child of the parent, a sibling or step-sibling of the child, the child's other parent, or other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, including a minor child who resided with the defendant.
(b) Manslaughter, pursuant to RSA 630:2, of another child of the parent, a sibling or step-sibling of the child, the child's other parent, or other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, including a minor child who resided with the defendant.
(c) Attempt, pursuant to RSA 629:1, solicitation, pursuant to RSA 629:2, or conspiracy, pursuant to RSA 629:3, to commit any of the offenses specified in subparagraphs VII(a) and VII(b).
(d) A felony assault under RSA 631:1, 631:2, 632-A:2, or 632-A:3 which resulted in injury to the child, a sibling or step-sibling of the child, the child's other parent, or other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, including a minor child who resided with the defendant.
Termination of Parental Rights Lawyer in New Hampshire
The process of terminating parental rights is confusing for some. Certain paperwork must be completed and submitted such as a NHJB-2188-FP form and evidence must be gathered. The best way to make the process easy and stress free is to hire an experienced attorney to help you with the entire process. Attorney Katharine Phinney can help you with everything and explain more about the process. Call our office now to set up a consultation.