Parents in Canada are legally obligated to provide for their offspring up until they turn 19. This involves making decisions related to the child’s upbringing, such as schooling and health, as well as managing their overall welfare and mental health.
At times, a parent’s neglect or harmful behaviour can leave a child in a vulnerable situation. This could involve a lack of care over a long period or an action that has the potential to cause physical or mental harm.
When a parent has been neglectful or abusive to your child, you might decide to sever the parental bond and end all legal ties with them. Terminating parental rights is a difficult decision that can have severe and long-lasting effects on both the parent and the child. In certain situations, it may be necessary to make this decision to keep the child safe from further harm or abuse.
Prioritizing Child Welfare
When it comes to deciding matters regarding parental rights, the court’s primary concern is the welfare of the child. The court will not take into account the wishes of either parent or any other factor that is not in the child’s best interest.
The judge will examine the different factors involved when determining who should have parental rights for a child. This includes the parents’ current living conditions, their relationship with the child, their ability to provide a safe and supportive home for the child, and their financial stability. The judge will also consider any other relevant information when making their decision.
Judges generally try to avoid having children give evidence or testimony in parental rights cases since it can be difficult for them to understand the situation and make decisions that are in their best interests. However, the child’s well-being is always the most crucial factor in decision-making.
When Are Parental Rights Terminated?
A judge will always prioritize the well-being of a child, but they also take into account the behaviour of the parent when determining whether or not to terminate their parental rights. Terminating a neglectful parent’s rights is usually done because the parent has been absent, abusive, or negligent in providing the child with appropriate care and support.
Terminating parental rights should only be considered when absolutely necessary and all other options have been exhausted. It is a serious decision that should not be taken lightly and should only be done after a thorough evaluation of the situation.
Unfortunately, in Canada, a parent’s responsibility to pay child support is not linked to their access rights to the child. Even if a parent is behind on their child support payments, they still have the right to see and spend time with the child unless a court says otherwise. Similarly, a parent being denied access to a child must satisfy their financial obligations and stay up-to-date with their child support payments.
Rather than attempting to end parental rights, it is prudent to pursue alternative legal strategies to get unpaid child support or to modify the existing custody and access agreement. Doing so is a more realistic way of dealing with the problem at hand than seeking termination of rights, which is unlikely to be approved by a court.
Terminating parental rights is a serious and difficult decision. It is typically done for the benefit of the child and to ensure their safety and well-being. It can be done voluntarily, or it can be done as a result of a court order. It is important to note that this action can have a lifelong effect on all parties involved. It is a decision that should only be made after careful consideration and consultation with an attorney.
Are you looking for a family lawyer in Langley? Turn to Dreyer and Associates. We are committed to preserving the best interests of families across the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland. We have diverse experience across family law, wills and estates, and residential conveyancing, although family law continues to be our focus. Book a consultation.