How do I get someone to sign over their parental rights?

Termination of parental rights

Recently on our forum we had a user ask, “How can I get someone to terminate their parental rights? If one parent decides to terminate their parental rights they are severing their legal rights as a parent. Termination of parental rights will eliminate their right to visit or talk with the child, make legal or physical decisions for the child, and contribute to the child's care.

Termination of parental rights can be voluntary or involuntary. Under voluntary parental termination you have agreed to terminate your rights as the parent. Involuntary termination is a decision which is made by a court, regardless of your decisions or desire to parent.

Reasons for legal termination

Although state laws vary, there are several reasons the court may decide your rights should be terminated.

  1. Abandonment
    In some states if you fail to have contact with or show interest in your child for six months without good reason your rights can be terminated.
  2. Neglect.
    If you fail to provide food, shelter, clothing or an education for your child and your child's welfare is threatened your rights can be terminated.
  3. Financial support
    If you fail to provide financial support for your child for a specific amount of time your rights may be terminated.
  4. Unfit parent
    If the court decides you are unable to care for the child you may be deemed an unfit parent and the court will terminate your parental rights.
  5. Egregious harm
    If a child was badly hurt while they were in your care your parental rights may be terminated.
  6. An absent father
    If the father of the child was not married to the mother, is not listed on the birth certificate, does not visit the child, and does not support the child, they can have their parental rights terminated.

There are other reasons not listed above that someone's parental rights can be terminated. Review the statutes in your state for a comprehensive listing. States will generally consider whether the termination of a parent's parental rights are in the best interest of the child.

Steps to terminate rights of a parent

There are certain steps you can take if you want to seek the termination of the parental rights from your partner. First, ask them if they will voluntarily relinquish them. Consider, the process to voluntarily terminate parental rights can be much simpler.

If the father, for instance, refuses to relinquish their parental rights but you believe you have legal cause to make this request, you will need to familiarize yourself with the process and laws in your state. Find out reasons your state may allow their parental rights to be terminated. If, for instance, your state allows termination of parental rights for abandonment gather evidence to show the father has legally abandoned your child.

Next, file the petition for termination of rights with documentation. Review the instructions, deadlines and guidelines for filing a petition in your state. Next, you will need to attend the hearing. You may want to contact a lawyer if you want legal assistance at your hearing. The judge will make a determination at the hearing. If he decides to terminate the father's parental rights, you will receive an Order of Termination.

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