The decision of a parent to permanently relinquish their parental rights to another person is never easily made. But for some individuals, they are confronted with making this difficult choice.
It would be an understatement to say that it’s extremely important to give serious consideration to the relinquishment of parental rights. Once completed, a judge’s ruling is permanent..for the most part. With the rare exception of acts of fraud or duress, the court’s ruling will be final.
Before a parent can relinquish their rights, they must first meet with a representative from either child welfare services or a licensed child placement agency to get counseling. These representatives will be able to discuss the outcome of your decision and answer any questions about the welfare of your child.
A parent may voluntarily assign their parental rights to someone. Typical examples include when a stepparent wants to adopt a child from their spouse’s ex, or when a young person feels that they aren’t responsible enough to raise their child.
An involuntary relinquishment can occur when one parent doesn’t fulfill their responsibilities. If a spouse abandons their child or doesn’t participate in a parental role, the other parent may seek to have the non-participating parent’s custody rights removed. Although involuntary relinquishments may seem appropriate Courts are often hesitant to eliminate one parent’s rights, so this type of judgment may not be a viable option.
Occasionally, some parents will consider transferring parental rights to evade paying child support. It’s understandable that child support payments can create a financial strain, but trying to relinquish child support payments this way isn’t an acceptable option.
If you’ve recently experienced a loss of employment or reduction of hours, the family courts are willing to modify your payments. If on the other hand, your obligations stem from acquiring new debts, the court system will likely not be receptive to your situation.
In this case, you may benefit by filing for bankruptcy: either a chapter 7 or a chapter 13 bankruptcy. This still won’t eliminate your child support debt, but the bankruptcy may free up other debts to make child support payments less burdensome.
There is no one good reason to surrender rights as a parent. It’s a personal choice, and one with permanent consequences. It can’t be stressed enough to get insight from a social services organization and consult with an attorney, before pursuing any course of action that may permanently impact the future of both you and your child.
If you’re facing the tough decision of signing over your parental rights to a child, the family law attorneys at Modern Family Law can help you navigate this complicated process. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
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