Termination of parental rights in New Mexico is a tricky subject. We often have people who have no relationship with a child, owe a tremendous amount of back support and seek to terminate their parental rights. This sort of situation isn’t allowed in New Mexico. The public policy about termination of parental rights is strong as the state does not want to give derelict parents this “out” and create a bunch of welfare children simply because the parent wants to avoid their legal obligation of support. However, termination of parental rights can and does occur.
Terminating parental rights usually falls under the Children’s Code as it pertains to an adoption. Before an adoption can occur, the parental rights of a parent must first be terminated. Thus, a petition for termination of parental rights is filed and decided by the court. The basis for termination arises when a parent has abandoned the child (this is a technical definition but can be proven by failure to support the child) or when an adoption is occurring and it’s in the best interests of the child.