Regardless of their marital status, Missouri parents both have the right to care for their child and in most cases make certain decisions regarding their child's health care, education and religion. However, there are certain instances when a court may take away these rights.
One reason a court may terminate a person's parental rights if there is evidence of abuse. This includes sexual or chronic abuse and neglect. If the parent abandons the child or suffers from a long-term mental illness that prevents the provision of proper care of the child, the court may remove the parent's responsibilities. Additionally, these rights may also be terminated when a parent commits a violent crime against the child or another family member.