No Parenting Time vs. Termination of Parental Rights
Sole Legal Decision Making (fka Custody) with no parenting time to the other parent gives one parent complete physical and legal rights to a child. If one parent has sole Legal Decision Making (fka Custody) for both physical and legal purposes, that parent will be the child’s “custodial” parent permanently, and also be able to make all discretionary life decisions for a child regarding their upbringing without having to consult the other parent. However, even in cases in which a court will grant sole Legal Decision Making (fka Custody) to a parent, the other parent of the child will likely have parenting time with respect to the child. In these cases, the parent without Legal Decision Making (fka Custody) will be allowed parenting time with their child to maintain an emotional bond and connection between the parent and child. Additionally, the parent without physical or legal Legal Decision Making (fka Custody) will still be required under the law to pay child support for the child and support the child financially. However, it can also be ordered that the other parent will have no parenting time with the child but still have parental rights with respect to inheritance from a deceased parent etc.
When parental rights are terminated with respect to a child, the parent without rights is considered by law to be a stranger to that child. Whether voluntary or involuntary, when parental rights are terminated, that parent has no legal right to ever see or communicate with the child again, or have any right to make any decisions regarding the upbringing of the child or be eligible as an heir in the case of the deceased parent. In these extreme cases in which parental rights are terminated, the parent may not be required to pay any child support with respect to the child, and this decision will be made the court.
A Termination of Parental Rights is usually filed in the Juvenile Court of the Superior Court of Arizona and Legal Decision Making and Parenting Time actions are filed in the Family Court Division of the Superior Court of Arizona.