Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights - Vermont

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Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 3-504

If any one of the following grounds exists, the court shall order the termination of parental rights:

  • In the case of a child under the age of 6 months, the parent did not exercise parental responsibility once he or she knew or should have known of the child's birth or expected birth. In making a determination under this subdivision, the court shall consider all relevant factors, which may include the respondent's failure to do the following:
    • Pay reasonable prenatal, natal, and postnatal expenses in accordance with his or her financial means
    • Make reasonable and consistent payments, in accordance with his or her financial means, for the support of the child
    • Regularly communicate or visit with the minor
    • Manifest an ability and willingness to assume legal and physical custody of the minor
  • In the case of a child over the age of 6 months at the time the petition is filed, the respondent did not exercise parental responsibility for a period of at least 6 months immediately preceding the filing of the petition. In making a determination under this subdivision, the court shall consider all relevant factors, which may include the respondent's failure to do the following:
    • Make reasonable and consistent payments, in accordance with his or her financial means, for the support of the child, although legally obligated to do so
    • Regularly communicate or visit with the minor
    • During any time the minor was not in the physical custody of the other parent, to manifest an ability and willingness to assume legal and physical custody of the minor
  • The respondent has been convicted of a crime of violence or has been found by a court of competent jurisdiction to have committed an act of violence that violated a restraining or protective order, and the facts of the crime or violation indicate that the respondent is unfit to maintain a relationship of parent and child with the minor.
  • The respondent has committed a sexual assault resulting in the conception of the child.
  • An alleged father has failed to establish paternity.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 3-504

If the respondent has proved by a preponderance of evidence that he or she had good cause for not complying with the support and care provisions above or that, for compelling reasons, termination due to conviction of a crime is not justified, the court may not terminate the respondent's parental rights to a minor except upon a finding by clear and convincing evidence that any one of the grounds for termination exists and that termination is in the best interests of the minor.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.