Is It Time for Post-Termination of Parental Rights Contact Rights?
There have been bills introduced multiple times to allow a parent that has had a relationship with the child to retain some placement/visitation rights if his or her parental rights have been terminated. If say a father has helped raise a child, but has not had regular contact in some period of time, might it be appropriate to consider granting some limited placement rights to him? There may be certain circumstances where it isn’t appropriate to give such rights; however, it might encourage the absent father to consent to a voluntary termination of his parental rights and avoid costly and hostile litigation that is in no one’s best interests.
Wisconsin’s legal procedure for termination is perhaps the most onerous in the country from a petitioner’s standpoint. It may require two trials, one in front of a jury, in order to terminate rights.
Allowing post-termination of contact may help a consenting parent to save face and act in what is in the best interests of the child. In some cases the degree of relationship may be significant enough so that the best interests of the child would be served by allowing some form of contact. Many states have post-TPR contact rights, isn’t time for Wisconsin to join the trend?