What are my options concerning signing away rights to a child?

UPDATED: Dec 6, 2011

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What are my options concerning signing away rights to a child?

I just took a paternity test to find out if I am the father and am curious as to my options on signing over rights if the child happens to be mine? Does the mother have to agree to it or have any say in it?

Asked on December 6, 2011 under Family Law, Utah


L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question regarding the possibilities of terminating paternal rights.  There are a number of factors to consider before terminating your parental rights, and the decision should be yours alone and not from pressure of other individuals telling you that you should sign your rights away from a child that you have scientific evidence stating that this child is biologically yours.  Additionally, you should be aware that the guidelines for this area law can vary from state to state, and the procedures for how to go about terminating your rights can also change from state to state. 

When a person terminates their parental rights, it means that person no longer has any legal or financial responsibilities or rights to that child.  These rights include moral values, health care, education, religion, and lifestyle of that child.  Additionally, the person no longer has rights for custody or visitation of that child.  Furthermore, that person will no longer have the financial responsibilities of that child, including, food, shelter, daycare, education, and health insurance.  A parent who terminates their rights to their biological child has as many rights to that child as a stranger walking down the street. 

If you want to proceed with terminating your parental rights you may find it easier to have the assistance of a family law attorney in your area.  You need to know the specific statutes that are applicable under your state’s laws.  Next you will need to define a “good cause” as to why you are seeking to terminate your rights.  Courts do not easily allow parents to terminate their rights unless the court is convinced that there is “good cause” for such termination.  Lastly, you will need to prepare a written document that states you are voluntarily terminating your parental rights.  Since the process can be complicated, and the courts are strict in this area, a family law attorney may be needed in this circumstance.


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