Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights - Nebraska

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Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 43-292; 43-292.02(4)

The court may terminate all parental rights when the court finds such action to be in the best interests of the child and one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • The parent has abandoned the child for 6 months or more.
  • The parent has substantially and continuously or repeatedly neglected the child or a sibling of the child.
  • The parent, being financially able, has willfully neglected to provide the child with the necessary subsistence, education, or other care or has neglected to pay for the child's care when legal custody of the child is with others and such payment is ordered by the court.
  • The parent is unfit by reason of debauchery, habitual use of intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs, or repeated lewd and lascivious behavior.
  • The parent is unable to discharge parental responsibilities because of mental illness or mental deficiency, and there are reasonable grounds to believe that such condition will continue for a prolonged indeterminate period.
  • Reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify the family have failed to rehabilitate the parent.
  • The child has been in an out-of-home placement for 15 or more of the most recent 22 months.
  • The parent has inflicted upon the child, by other than accidental means, serious bodily injury.
  • The parent has subjected the child or another minor child to aggravated circumstances, including, but not limited to, abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, or sexual abuse.
  • The parent has done any of the following:
    • Committed murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent
    • Aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter of the child or another child of the parent
    • Committed a felony assault that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or another minor child of the parent
  • One parent has been convicted of felony sexual assault of the other parent.

Except as otherwise provided in the Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act, if a child is conceived by the victim of a sexual assault, a petition for termination of parental rights of the perpetrator shall be granted if such termination is in the best interests of the child and (a) the perpetrator has been convicted of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to sexual assault of the child's birth parent or (b) the perpetrator has fathered the child or given birth to the child as a result of such sexual assault.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 43-292.02

A petition shall not be filed to terminate the parental rights of the child's parents if the basis for the petition is either of the following:

  • The parent is financially unable to provide health care for the child.
  • The parent is incarcerated.

The petition is not required to be filed if the following apply:

  • The child is being cared for by a relative.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services has documented in the case plan or permanency plan a compelling reason for determining that filing such a petition would not be in the best interests of the child.
  • The family of the child has not had a reasonable opportunity to avail themselves of the services deemed necessary in the case plan or permanency plan approved by the court if reasonable efforts to preserve and reunify the family are required by law.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.