In North Carolina, a court can terminate the rights of a parent for a number of reasons. Either parent may seek to terminate the other’s rights, as well as a judicially appointed guardian, a person who has filed a petition to adopt, or anyone with whom the child has continuously lived for at least two years. Some of the more common reasons for termination include:
- Abuse or neglect of the child
- Willful abandonment of the child to foster care for more than twelve months
- Failure to pay child support pursuant to a court order or agreement for more than one year
- Father of child born out of wedlock’s failure to legitimate the child, establish paternity, or financially provide for the child
- Parent is incapable of providing for proper care and supervision
If the person who petitions for termination of a parent’s rights, proves there are grounds for the termination, the court must consider whether such termination is in the best interests of the minor child.
An order terminating the parental rights completely and permanently terminates all rights and obligations of the parent to the child and of the child to the parent arising from the parental relationship, except that the child’s right of inheritance from the parent shall not terminate until a final order of adoption is issued.