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The Last Stand: After Parental Rights TerminationEnding the Relationship


When a court terminates parental rights, it ends the legal relationship between the parent and child. The parent no longer has legal or physical custody and has no rights when it comes to caring for or making decisions about the child. Parental rights termination most commonly occurs when another person wants to adopt the child.

After parental rights are terminated, and especially if the child is adopted by another family, the biological parent has very few rights or privileges regarding the child.

Your Rights After Termination

After your parental rights are terminated, you lose the right to contact your child or get information about your child. If your child has been adopted, it is up to the adoptive parents to decide whether they will permit you the privilege of staying involved in any way in your child’s life, but you do not have a legal right you can protect.

A parent can voluntarily surrender his or her parental rights but, in doing so, loses the right to appeal the surrender. However, if you make an identified surrender, which occurs when a specific person has been identified to adopt your child, your rights could be reinstated if that person was later unable to adopt your child. The DCP&P may still try to find another potential adoptive parent, so your rights might not be permanently reinstated.

Fighting Back

If the court terminates your parental rights after a trial, you have a right to appeal the judge’s decision. If the court upholds the judge’s decision and your rights are terminated, you have a right to ask for a final visit or to write a letter to your child and provide pictures and mementos your child can keep.

Under rare circumstances, parental rights may be reinstated, such as if the child ages out of foster care and wants to reestablish a legal relationship with the biological parent. Your information can be kept in a registry, however, so your child can contact you when he or she grows up.

Parental rights termination is a very serious matter and one you should not approach without the legal guidance of an attorney. You have a right to legal counsel in proceedings regarding your parental rights, and this is a right you should exercise. Even if you are voluntarily surrounding your parental rights, it’s vital you speak with an experienced New Jersey child welfare defense attorney about your rights, so you understand where you will stand once the court terminates your rights.


Are you worried about your rights being violated? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can help ensure you can enforce your special rights as a parent. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at [email protected], or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.