Wisconsin termination of parental rights is a very serious step. If you are convinced that termination is in your child’s best interest, there are several ways to accomplish it.
The most common way to accomplish a Wisconsin termination of parental rights is a stepparent adoption. If both biological parents consent to terminate one parent’s rights, and a step-parent is willing to adopt, Wisconsin law permits a streamlined process. The terminating parent signs a consent, and the adopting parent files a petition for adoption. A social worker will perform an adoption study. The judge will grant both the termination and adoption requests at the same time.
If a step-parent is not available for adoption, it is very rare that a voluntary Wisconsin termination of parental rights request will be granted. Public policy is to avoid termination of parental rights due to an increased likelihood that the child would need public assistance (food stamps, medical, housing , etc.). Another concern is the child’s care if the remaining parent becomes incapacitated or dies, and there is no other parent. The child might then be sent to foster care.
In some cases, if a parent has abandoned the child or is truly unfit, a termination of parental rights may be granted even over a parent’s objection. Usually, these cases are filed by a government attorney after the child has been removed from a parent’s care, but they can be filed by private petitioners. An involuntary termination of parental rights case occurs in two phases: first, are there grounds for termination; second, is it in the child’s best interest to terminate a parent’s rights.
Judges are very careful in Wisconsin termination of parental rights cases. Even if all parents and step-parents agree to do it, there are very specific requirements that must be followed. I have handled several of termination cases, and would be happy to consult with you to ensure the best for your child.