2017 Mississippi Code
Title 93 - Domestic Relations
Chapter 15 - Mississippi Termination of Parental Rights Law
§ 93-15-119. Involuntary termination in chancery court for reasons of abandonment, desertion, or parental unfitness to raise the child; standard of proof

Universal Citation: MS Code § 93-15-119 (2017)
  • (1) A court hearing a petition under this chapter may terminate the parental rights of a parent when, after conducting an evidentiary hearing, the court finds by clear and convincing evidence:
    • (a)
      • (i) That the parent has engaged in conduct constituting abandonment or desertion of the child, as defined in Section 93-15-103, or is mentally, morally, or otherwise unfit to raise the child, which shall be established by showing past or present conduct of the parent that demonstrates a substantial risk of compromising or endangering the child's safety and welfare; and
      • (ii) That termination of the parent's parental rights is appropriate because reunification between the parent and child is not desirable toward obtaining a satisfactory permanency outcome; or
    • (b) That a parent has committed against the other parent a sexual act that is unlawful under Section 97-3-65 or 97-3-95, or under a similar law of another state, territory, possession or Native American tribe where the offense occurred, and that the child was conceived as a result of the unlawful sexual act. A criminal conviction of the unlawful sexual act is not required to terminate the offending parent's parental rights under this paragraph (b).
  • (2) An allegation of desertion may be fully rebutted by proof that the parent, in accordance with the parent's means and knowledge of the mother's pregnancy or the child's birth, either:
    • (a) Provided financial support, including, but not limited to, the payment of consistent support to the mother during her pregnancy, contributions to the payment of the medical expenses of the pregnancy and birth, and contributions of consistent support of the child after birth; frequently and consistently visited the child after birth; and is now willing and able to assume legal and physical care of the child; or
    • (b) Was willing to provide financial support and to make visitations with the child, but reasonable attempts to do so were thwarted by the mother or her agents, and that the parent is now willing and able to assume legal and physical care of the child.
  • (3) The court shall inquire as to the military status of an absent parent before conducting an evidentiary hearing under this section.
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