Roy M. Sobelson


Of all the civil remedies a state may utilize against its citizens, perhaps the most severe is the termination of one's parental rights. Having been described as a "tearing of the flesh," it clearly represents one of our system's most egregious infringements on the fundamental rights associated with the raising of one's family. While little uniformity exists among the states in terms of grounds for termination, procedures, courts utilized, terminology, and standards of proof required at trial or on appeal, all states have some form of termination remedy available. Most terminations, whether made in conjunction with prospective adoptions or independent of such are deemed permanent and absolute. Furthermore, after termination is final, a former parent loses the right to notice of any further action regarding the child, and the inheritance rights of the child are cut off.

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