When Your Child Tries to Terminate Your Parental Rights

Posted by Jonathan Jerkins | Jul 06, 2022 | 0 Comments

Relationships with your teenage children can be hard. Teens are moving toward independence, and as part of that growth, they often reject the advice and support of their parents. But in some extreme cases of discord with your teen, they may even try to terminate your parental rights. In North Carolina, a child's petition to end parental rights is called emancipation. 

What is Emancipation?

Any child aged 16 or older who has lived in the same county in North Carolina for six months before filing a petition can petition the court for emancipation. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-3500 (1979). To begin an emancipation petition, your child will need to fill out a petition containing:

  • Their full name,
  • A copy of their birth certificate,
  • The name and last known address of their parents,
  • Their address and length of time living there,
  • Their reasons for requesting emancipation, and
  • Their plan for meeting their financial and other needs.

See id. at § 7B-3501. A service processer will then serve you with the petition and a summons for a court hearing. You must see an experienced North Carolina family law attorney right away to respond to the summons quickly.

If granted, emancipation is irrevocable and will:

  • Give your child the right to execute contracts, sue or be sued, and transact business as if they were an adult, and
  • Eliminate all legal duties you owe to your child and eliminate all your parental rights.

See id. at § 7B-3507.

Court Considerations for Emancipation

In determining the petition for emancipation, the court will look at:

  • Whether your child needs your financial support,
  • Whether your child can function as an adult,
  • Whether your child needs to get married or sign contracts as an adult,
  • Your child's employment status and the stability of their living arrangements,
  • Your family environment and whether your child can reconcile with you,
  • Whether your child has rejected your support or supervision, and
  • The quality of your support or supervision.

See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-3504 (1979). Ultimately, the court will examine whether emancipation is in your child's best interests. See id. at § 7B-3505(4).

You Need an Experienced North Carolina Family Lawyer

If you're facing a child trying to terminate your parental rights, you need skilled legal guidance immediately. Call Jerkins Family Law at 919-719-2785 or contact us online. You need an experienced family law attorney, and we can help.

About the Author

Jonathan Jerkins

Jonathan "Jay" Jerkins, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, intentionally focuses his practice on all aspects of North Carolina family law litigation and negotiations. Jay was admitted to the practice of law in North Carolina in 2014.


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