DCF: 48-8-2

 Policy Manual
Termination Of Parental Rights In Probate Court

Filing Procedure

Who May File The following person(s) may file in Probate Court for Termination of Parental Rights:

•either or both parents, including a parent who is a minor (court may appoint a guardian ad litem to see to it that the minor is giving informed consent, and that the minor's consent is indeed voluntary)

•the guardian of the child

•the selectman of any town having charge of any foundling

•a duly authorized officer of any child care agency approved by the Department

•a blood relative of the child, if the parent or parents have abandoned or deserted the child

•the Commissioner, provided the custodial parent has consented to termination, the child is not committed and there are no proceedings in Superior Court for Juvenile Matters.

Cross-reference: For procedures for Termination of Parental Rights in the Superior Court for Juvenile Matters, please refer to Volume II, Chapter 46, Superior Court for Juvenile Matters. In particular, see the Checklist for Filing Termination of Parental Rights (DCF-2016).

Consent of Child Required if Child is Age Twelve or Over In accordance with CONN. GEN. STAT. §45a-715(a)(b), a child age twelve (12) or over must consent to termination of his/her parents rights. Therefore, it is necessary for someone to discuss this requirement with the child prior to filing.

It should be explained to the child that the judge must take the minor's wishes into consideration, but that the judge's decision to terminate will be based upon evidence presented to substantiate statutory grounds for termination. This may ease the burden a child might feel regarding making a decision about having a parent's rights terminated.

Where Petition May be Filed The Petition may be filed:

•in the Probate Court for the district where the petitioner or child resides

•for a child under guardianship of any child care or child placing agency, in the Probate Court for the district in which the main office or any local office of the agency is located.

Note: In preparation for filing in Probate Court, use Checklist For Filing For Termination Of Parental Rights In Probate Court (DCF-2036).

Transfer to Superior Court if Contested CONN. GEN. STAT. §45a-715(g), provides for the transfer of a contested termination from a Probate Court to Superior Court prior to a "...hearing on the merits in any case...".

The following are the ways a matter is transferred from Probate Court to Superior Court:

•The matter must be transferred upon motion of any legal party except the petitioner.

•The matter may be transferred upon motion of the petitioner.

•The court on its own motion may transfer the matter.

Legal Grounds The legal grounds for granting Termination of Parental Rights in Probate Court are as follows:

•The child has been abandoned in the sense that the parent has failed to maintain a reasonable degree of interest, concern or responsibility as to the welfare of the child.

•The child has been denied by reason of an act or acts of parental commission or omission, the care, guidance or control necessary for his physical, educational, moral or emotional well being.

•There is no ongoing parent-child relationship.

Note: The above grounds are essentially the same as in the Superior Court.

Legal Reference: CONN. GEN. STAT. §45a-717(f).

Connecticut Department of Children and Families Issued: March 1, 1994

Content Last Modified on 9/18/2007 3:16:03 PM