2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 15 - COURTS
CHAPTER 11 - JUVENILE PROCEEDINGS
ARTICLE 2 - TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS
§ 15-11-94 - Grounds for termination; other dispositions
. Grounds for termination; other dispositions
(a) In considering the termination of parental rights, the court shall first determine whether there is present clear and convincing evidence of parental misconduct or inability as provided in subsection (b) of this Code section. If there is clear and convincing evidence of such parental misconduct or inability, the court shall then consider whether termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child, after considering the physical, mental, emotional, and moral condition and needs of the child who is the subject of the proceeding, including the need for a secure and stable home. If the court finds clear and convincing evidence of the circumstance provided in paragraph (5) of subsection (b) of this Code section, the court shall presume that termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child.
(b) Except as provided in subsections (e) through (h) of Code Section 15-11-96
, the court by order may terminate the parental rights of a parent with respect to the parent's child if:
(1) The written consent of the parent, acknowledged before the court, has been given; provided, however, that acknowledgment before the court is not necessary where the parent or parents voluntarily surrender the child for adoption as provided by subsection (e) of Code Section 19-8-4
, or 19-8-7
(2) A decree has been entered by a court of competent jurisdiction of this or any other state ordering the parent, guardian, or other custodian to support the child, and the parent, guardian, or other custodian has wantonly and willfully failed to comply with the order for a period of 12 months or longer;
(3) The parent has abandoned the child or the child was left under circumstances that the identity of the parent is unknown and cannot be ascertained despite diligent searching, and the parent has not come forward to claim the child within three months following the finding of the child;
(4)(A) The court determines parental misconduct or inability by finding that:
(i) The child is a deprived child, as such term is defined in Code Section 15-11-2
(ii) The lack of proper parental care or control by the parent in question is the cause of the child's status as deprived;
(iii) Such cause of deprivation is likely to continue or will not likely be remedied; and
(iv) The continued deprivation will cause or is likely to cause serious physical, mental, emotional, or moral harm to the child.
(B) In determining whether the child is without proper parental care and control, the court shall consider, without being limited to, the following:
(i) A medically verifiable deficiency of the parent's physical, mental, or emotional health of such duration or nature as to render the parent unable to provide adequately for the physical, mental, emotional, or moral condition and needs of the child;
(ii) Excessive use of or history of chronic unrehabilitated abuse of intoxicating liquors or narcotic or dangerous drugs or controlled substances with the effect of rendering the parent incapable of providing adequately for the physical, mental, emotional, or moral condition and needs of the child;
(iii) Conviction of the parent of a felony and imprisonment therefor which has a demonstrable negative effect on the quality of the parent-child relationship;
(iv) Egregious conduct or evidence of past egregious conduct of the parent toward the child or toward another child of a physically, emotionally, or sexually cruel or abusive nature;
(v) Physical, mental, or emotional neglect of the child or evidence of past physical, mental, or emotional neglect of the child or of another child by the parent; and
(vi) Injury or death of a sibling under circumstances which constitute substantial evidence that such injury or death resulted from parental neglect or abuse.
(C) In addition to the considerations in subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, where the child is not in the custody of the parent who is the subject of the proceedings, in determining whether the child is without proper parental care and control, the court shall consider, without being limited to, whether the parent without justifiable cause has failed significantly for a period of one year or longer prior to the filing of the petition for termination of parental rights:
(i) To develop and maintain a parental bond with the child in a meaningful, supportive manner;
(ii) To provide for the care and support of the child as required by law or judicial decree; and
(iii) To comply with a court ordered plan designed to reunite the child with the parent or parents; or
(5) The parent has been convicted of the murder of the child's other parent.
(c) If the court does not make an order of termination of parental rights, it may grant an order under Code Section 15-11-55
if the court finds from clear and convincing evidence that the child is a deprived child.
Graham Syfert - Jacksonville Lawyer