Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights - New Hampshire

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Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 169-C:24-a; 170-C:5; 170-C:5-a

A petition for termination of parental rights shall be filed when any one or more of the following circumstances exist:

  • The child has been in an out-of-home placement for 12 of the most recent 22 months.
  • The child has been abandoned.
  • The parent has been convicted of any of the following:
    • Murder of another child of the parent, a sibling or stepsibling of the child, the child's other parent, or other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, including a minor child who resided with the defendant
    • Manslaughter of another child of the parent
    • Attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit any of the offenses listed above
    • Felony assault that resulted in injury to the child, a sibling or stepsibling of the child, the child's other parent, or other persons related by consanguinity or affinity, including a minor child who resided with the defendant
  • The parent, although financially able, has substantially and continuously neglected to provide the child with necessary subsistence, education, or other necessary care.
  • The parent has failed to correct the conditions leading to the child's out-of-home placement within 12 months, despite reasonable efforts under the direction of the district court to rectify the conditions.
  • Because of mental deficiency or mental illness, the parent is and will continue to be incapable of giving the child proper parental care and protection for a longer period of time than would be wise or prudent.
  • The parent knowingly or willfully caused or permitted another to cause severe sexual, physical, emotional, or mental abuse of the child.
  • The parent's conduct toward the child has resulted in severe harm to the child.
  • The parent's conduct toward the child has continued despite the reasonable efforts of authorized agencies in obtaining or providing services for the parent to reduce or alleviate such conduct.
  • The parent, as a result of incarceration for a felony offense, is unable to discharge his or her responsibilities for the child and, in addition, has been shown to have abused or neglected the child. The court may review the conviction of the parent to determine whether the felony offense is of such a nature, and the period of incarceration imposed of such duration, that the child would be deprived of proper parental care and protection and left in an unstable or impermanent environment for a longer period of time than would be prudent.

A petition for termination of the parent-child relationship shall be granted when the child's birth is the result of sexual assault of the birth mother and termination of the parent-child relationship is in the best interests of the child. Upon a showing, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the child's birth is the result of sexual assault of the birth mother, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that termination of the biological father's parent-child relationship with the child is in the best interest of the child. This section shall apply to a person who has been found to be the father of a child and to whom the following applies:

  • Has been convicted of or has pled guilty or nolo contendere to an act of sexual assault against the birth mother for his conduct in fathering the child
  • At a fact-finding hearing, is found beyond a reasonable doubt to have fathered the child through an act of nonconsensual sexual penetration

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 169-C:24-a

The State may not be required to file a petition for termination of parental rights if one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • The child is being appropriately cared for by a relative.
  • A State agency has documented in the case file a compelling reason for determining that filing a petition for termination of parental rights would not be in the best interests of the child.
  • The State has not provided to the family of the child such services and reasonable efforts as the State deems necessary for the safe return of the child to the child's home.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.