Dealing with an ex while trying to co-parent is very difficult for many people. Because of the challenges involved in this, some parents consider the idea of terminating parental rights. However, there are many myths surrounding this subject, and it is actually not something most people can do by choice. Understanding why parental rights are terminated and how they may be reinstated is important for anyone considering this step.
In general, the courts only believe terminating a parent's rights to be in the best interests of the child in cases of extreme abuse or neglect. Even if a parent does ask the courts to voluntarily terminate parental rights, the courts are likely to refuse unless there is a severe circumstance that proves this option is best for the child. There are some cases where a parent may voluntarily terminate parental rights so that a child can be adopted by a stepparent, but these are very rare.
If termination of parental rights is seldom done, reinstatement of terminated rights is even rarer. California is one of the few states that do have laws on the books to cover these situations. They were made primarily with foster children in mind in cases where the biological parent has shown significant changes, is able to provide a stable, safe and emotionally healthy home and the child has not been able to be placed in another permanent home.
Whether voluntarily or not, having your parental rights terminated is a very serious step that may be impossible to take back in many cases. It's important to have a complete understanding of the process and consequences before moving forward.
Source: FindLaw, "Reinstatement of Parental Rights After Termination," accessed Nov. 10, 2015