• can a parent give up parental rights

Can a Parent Give Up Parental Rights?  

The termination of parental rights involves a court order in which a parent permanently ends a legal parent-child relationship. Parental rights can be terminated voluntary or involuntary, but can a parent voluntarily give up parent rights? Below is a basic overview on how a parent can give up parental rights in California. Read on to learn more.

The Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

The voluntary termination of parental rights is rare unless the minor child is being adopted. There must be good cause in order for the court to do so. Circumstances that support the voluntary termination of parental rights usually occurs when a stepparent stands ready to assume responsibility of caring for his/her spouse’s child.  Both biological parents must consent to the termination of parental rights. The parent voluntarily relinquishing his/her rights must be served with adequate notice before doing so. The parent will also be given the opportunity to consent or object in person during the court proceeding to relinquish rights. Contact A People’s Choice for more information about stepparent adoption.

When Parent Wants To Give Up Parental Rights

A parent cannot give up parental rights simply to avoid paying support unless there is a stepparent willing to take over the responsibility and obligations through adoption.

Even if both parents agree that one parent can give up parental rights, courts have determined that the parent-child relationship is the most fundamental right a child possesses. As a result, absent extremely unusual circumstances, a voluntary termination of parental right has been determined to deprive a child of one of their basic constitutional rights. Courts have ruled that parents do not have the right to stipulate and agree to give up parental rights and their duties and obligations to their child. Courts have decided that such agreements are not based on the best interests of the child.  In their rulings, Courts have indicated that the best interest of the child is more important than the parties’ desire to make an agreement regarding the termination of parental rights.

Consistent with these findings, courts have repeatedly found that agreements between two parties that voluntarily terminate one of the parental rights are void.

Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

In California, there are two main ways in which a court can terminate parental rights, even without the parents’ consent. The process can be filed in Juvenile Dependency Court or in Family Court adoption proceedings, depending on why the parental rights are being terminated.

Terminating Parental Rights Based on Abandonment

In order to terminate parental rights based on child abandonment, evidence must be presented to the court demonstrating that the abandonment was intentional. This can be presented in the form of first-hand witness testimony or written documentation. It is important to note that abandonment by one parent is not, in and of itself, grounds to terminate parental rights, except in cases of stepparent or domestic partner adoption. Someone else must be prepared to assume the parental rights.  The court will not terminate a parent’s rights if that would leave the child with only one parent who is responsible for their support and care, even if the child has been abandoned by that parent.

Terminating Parental Rights Due to Neglect or Cruelty

Child neglect and cruelty also serve as grounds for terminating parental rights in California. Child Protective Services or another local agency investigates the mistreatment of children. In a juvenile dependency court proceeding, one or both parents can be found to be unfit parents and the Juvenile Court can terminate one or both parents’ rights. In this situation, a petition can be filed by the Department of Child Protective Services to terminate the parental rights of one or both parents. The government then becomes the legal custodian of the minor and allow the minor to be adopted without the biological parent consents.  

Parental rights can also be involuntarily terminated if any of the following occur:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Long-term mental illness or the deficiency of a parent
  • Long-term drug dependency
  • Commission of a felony
  • Lack of access as a result of serving prison time

A petition to terminate parental rights can occur for the grounds mentioned above if the court finds the following:

  • The parent does not have legal custody of the child.
  • The child must be in the physical custody of the guardian for at least two years.
  • The court must find that the child would benefit from being adopted by the guardian. The court will do what is in the best interest of the child.

The rights of a presumed father are different from the rights of an alleged father. An alleged father is a father whose genetic paternity has not yet been confirmed and the parties were not married. The alleged father may or may not be specifically identified on the child’s birth certificate. A presumed  father is a father who is legally defined under the criteria of Family Code Section 7611. Contact A People’s Choice for more information about how to terminate a presumed father’s parental rights.

Relinquishing Parental Rights

A parent can relinquish his/her parental rights in the following way:

  • Not respond to a petition to terminate parental rights.
  • Sign a relinquishment of parental rights form.

Restoring Parental Rights

Once parental rights are terminated, they are rarely reinstated. In January, 2005, California enacted Assembly Bill 519. This bill provides a limited way for parental rights to be restored if they were previously terminated for abuse or neglect. The law applies only if no one has adopted the child after the juvenile court has terminated parental rights. The law does not allow the parent to petition to restore their parental rights, but rather the child can petition the court to restore these rights. The process is started by the child informing their social worker or foster parent of their wish to have his or her parents’ rights restored. This request must be made within three years of the court order terminating parental rights.

After a child is legally adopted, there’s usually nothing that can be done to reverse that situation and restore the rights of a parent that have previously been terminated.

Contact A People’s Choice for more information about how a parent can give up parental rights in California. We can help you draft and file all the required legal documents for the termination of parental rights.


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By | 2018-01-18T15:46:50+00:00 June 7th, 2016|Adoption, Family Law|101 Comments

About the Author:

Sandra M. McCarthy, founder of A People’s Choice Inc., has worked exclusively in the legal field since 1976. She served as the 2004-2005 President of CALDA (California Association of Legal Document Assistants). She obtained a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her career in the legal field, she has worked as a freelance paralegal, law office manager and paralegal studies teacher, and has co-authored numerous legal publications and written hundreds of self-help legal articles. As a registered Legal Document Assistant, Sandy is dedicated to providing affordable, low-cost, self-help document preparation services for California consumers in all 58 counties.


  1. Francis March 28, 2017 at 11:55 pm - Reply

    Hello not that long ago the mother got married her husband wants to adopt the child I recently went to a notary to sign off a former to voluntary give up my rights since we both agreed I was wondering if her husband adopts do I have to continue to support?

    • Sandy McCarthy March 29, 2017 at 2:53 am - Reply

      Parental rights can be relinquished through adoption. Check with an attorney to discuss the legal ramifications of the document you signed.

    • Lavone frazer December 19, 2017 at 6:05 am - Reply

      Well my husband and I seperated a while ago and meet another young lady and now she pregnant and having the baby wellbof now where back together and working out our problems. But the mother of the baby want us to raise the baby and she wants to sign over her right I’m willing to adopt and we agree on this will it be a hard process I’m kind of worried

      • Sandy McCarthy December 21, 2017 at 2:15 pm - Reply

        If the mother agrees to the stepparent adoption it will probably not be a very difficult process and we could certainly help with the required form preparation. Please call us at 800-747-2780.

  2. Elias Rojas April 23, 2017 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    My sons Mom and her husband want to adopt my son and for me to give up my parental rights so basically he would be adopting him so how would I go about doing this she is asking me to file so that way I might be able to get a fee waiver

    • Sandy McCarthy April 24, 2017 at 2:57 am - Reply

      Unfortunately you cannot file. The adoption has to be filed by the adopting parents. Let us know if they need help with the paperwork. 800-747-2780.

      • T January 27, 2018 at 12:01 am - Reply

        My buddy dated a girl over a year ago and she recently got ahold of of him telling him she had a kid that was theirs what are his rights regarding the fact He wants nothing to do with her or unfortunately the child as well ? He doesn’t want kids. Can he just give up his rights and move on ?

        • Sandy McCarthy February 4, 2018 at 12:41 am - Reply

          Most states do not allow a father to simply give up parental rights unless another person is adopting the child. Someone will probably have to file a paternity case to establish or disestablish paternity. If he is the father, however, most likely he will be on the hook for child support whether or not he wants kids or the responsibility that goes with that.

  3. Jesus Bello April 26, 2017 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    What If A Kid Wants Their Parents To Give up Their Parental Rights To Go To Foster Care

    • Sandy McCarthy May 1, 2017 at 12:20 am - Reply

      I have never heard of a situation where a child asks their parents to give up their parental rights to go to Foster Care. If the child is in danger, someone should contact Child Protective Services. The child may also look into being emancipated. Either way, talk to an attorney to review what would be best in this situation.

  4. Sam April 29, 2017 at 12:46 am - Reply

    So Someone I am close to has a child whose mother wont let him see him he will be 4 in december and he has seen him once when he was a baby and once when the mom took him to the support meeting she will not allow him to see his son and she has given her rights to her parents he wants to give up his rights to his son due to not being a part of his life and starting a new life with his daughter. Will he still pay to support and how would he go about doing so?

    • Sandy McCarthy May 1, 2017 at 12:17 am - Reply

      I am not aware of any process that allows a parent to give up their parental rights without another person adopting that child. Short of an adoption, a biological parent will most likely be obligated for any child support order whether or not they see they child or have a parental relationship with that child. Talk to an attorney for legal advice if you feel that is necessary to understand rights and obligations of biological parents in this situation.

      • Ellen January 29, 2018 at 11:51 pm - Reply

        Hi Sandy. My son’s father gave up his parental rights. I told him that if he signed the paper that he would not have to pay child support. My attorney did not think the courts would go for it but they did.
        I did allow my son to talk to him in the last three to four years even paying for visits with him. However, now that he is 15, he is texting him and the info that he is giving him is not correct and swaying his mind. My son is too naive and young to know this and also hard to accept that his father would give him up so that he would not have to pay child support.

        I asked him because I knew he was a shady man. However, I allowed my son to have a relationship with him when he was older and now it has come to back fire on me. Just today, I reminded his father of the paper that he signed. I told him that if he wanted to speak to my son, that he had to go through me. My son is not happy about it as he wants to talk to his Dad when he wants. I explained to him that I was not punishing him and that I was not telling him that he could not talk to him. I just said for reasons that you don’t understand at your age, this is why.

        I worry as I don’t want to squash my son but at the same time, this man is not a good influence. Again, I am angry at myself for even allowing him back in to my son’s life – like he got his Cake and ate it too. But it was a decision that I thought would help my son at the time.
        I would love to go to counseling with my son but I doubt he would. I am going to try.

        Thanks for all that you do.


        • Sandy McCarthy February 4, 2018 at 12:36 am - Reply

          Sometimes parents have to allow a relationship between a child and parent that may not always be “ideal.” You would not want your son to develop anger towards you thinking that it was you who prevented him from having a relationship with his biological parent. These situations typically work out for the best. Be the best parent you can towards your child and keep talking to him in a positive manner, sharing your concerns. Counseling sounds like a great idea. I wish you the best of luck.

  5. Ashley May 5, 2017 at 12:09 am - Reply

    I recently went through a divorce. We have two children. My son is not bilogically his but my ex husband is on his birth certificate. He was court ordered to pay weekly child support as well as standard visitation. Now he is refusing to pay child support for our son and says he wants to give up his right to him. Is this possible?

    • Sandy McCarthy May 5, 2017 at 3:52 am - Reply

      Unfortunately we cannot advise you of what may or may not be “possible”. Our role in legal matters of child support and paternity is limited to preparing paperwork at the direction of the client. You would need to know what paperwork you want to file.

  6. Cherry Herrera May 9, 2017 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    My daughter will be 16 this Sept, her father has not really been in her life in a stable way, it has gotten worse as the years gone by, now it has been 8 months since he has contacted her or me , he has not followed the court order , my daughter does not have any connection emotionally to him, I’m Husband has been in her life since she was 3 years old and wants to adopt her , She wants that more than anything , can you help me?

    • Sandy McCarthy May 11, 2017 at 1:17 pm - Reply

      We can certainly help you with a stepparent adoption. You also may need to file a petition to terminate parental rights of the biological father if he refuses to consent. Please call us at 800-747-2780.

  7. Dee May 21, 2017 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    What if the courts always sides with the bitter woman, who never wants the child to have a relationship with father. No Visits and so on. The courts grant every demand of this bitter women without any proof of bills or expenses at all. If the court won’t allow more visitation, the father has no rights. Why can’t a father sign over his rights, he has none anyway..

    • Sandy McCarthy May 31, 2017 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      This sounds very strange because the courts in California usually encourage visitation with a noncustodial parent. Perhaps you failed to properly respond in your paperwork or explain your side of the story. You may want to consider filing a motion to modify the current order. Give us a call 800-747-2780.

  8. Rosa May 28, 2017 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    My grandsons mom has a total of 5 children with all different fathers, 3 of which are currently in prison and the others well are barely around. She has an open CPS case which is currently informal. She would like to give up her parental rights and place them with me, can she do this? We are in CA.

    • Sandy McCarthy May 31, 2017 at 5:34 am - Reply

      I am not aware of a process to give up parental rights other than through an adoption. You may also consider guardianship. Check with an attorney for advice regarding which might be a better option for you, then contact our office to prepare the paperwork.

  9. Alex May 31, 2017 at 5:44 am - Reply

    My daughter is 2 and her dad just came in to her life at 18 months. He has never given me any money or even diapers or food when asked. He offered to take care of her health insurance but let it cancel for non payment. Can I have him sign over his rights in return for no child support? Whenever we argue (over him being a deadbeat) he threatens to get some custody of her.

    • Sandy McCarthy May 31, 2017 at 2:01 pm - Reply

      As outlined in the article, a parent cannot give up parental rights simply to avoid paying support unless there is a stepparent willing to take over the responsibility and obligations through adoption.

  10. mike June 10, 2017 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    how can i have my patental rights reinstated?

    • Sandy McCarthy June 13, 2017 at 2:13 am - Reply

      You should speak to an attorney.

  11. Kelly Whisenand June 26, 2017 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    My son and his girlfriend are about to have a baby. They are unable to care for said baby. My ex in laws are willing to him and raise him as they own. Besides giving up parental rights what else do we need to do? Both parents consent. Do I need more than guardianship papers?

    • Sandy McCarthy June 28, 2017 at 8:15 pm - Reply

      It is usually not possible to give up parental rights unless two other parents adopt the child. We certainly can help you with the guardianship papers. For more information please call 800-747-2780.

  12. Kayla July 5, 2017 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    My daughter was in an abusive relationship at 17 yrs old and had two kids with the abusive husband. She fled but wasn’t allowed to take her kids due to not having a place to go. weeks later they accused her of abandoning her kids. Been an off And on battle. she is now 26 ended up with major depression, gave up and gave full custody to the father. But they are still verbally and emotionally attacking her. She has given up on life and was advised to give up her parental rights by a friend. She can’t make decisions on her own. So here I am Can she give up her rights? She has not seen her kids in over 2+ years. They are currently living with the father and stepmother. And their half sister. I truly think she’s emotionally unstable.

    • Sandy McCarthy July 7, 2017 at 4:51 am - Reply

      I do not believe she can give up parental rights without another mother adopting. She should speak to an attorney for direction and advice.

  13. Monica sauers July 8, 2017 at 5:08 am - Reply

    Hi i have a question so my sons father hasn’t been in his life in 14 years he was in jail for murder and is now out but still doesn’t bother with him he is now 16 and wants my boyfriend to adopted him cause he has been his father since he was 8 months old his father has never paid a dime or child support.. He refuses to give up his rights cause he wants to spite me what can I do to have my boyfriend adopted him

    • Sandy McCarthy July 8, 2017 at 5:11 am - Reply

      It is much easier for a stepparent to adopt. You might be able to terminate parental rights without consent.

  14. Ebony Green July 15, 2017 at 11:26 am - Reply

    My brother was seeing a woman he wasn’t really serious with. Got her pregnant, and they both decided he wasn’t going to be in the child’s life at that time. Our mother passed away and he was having a hard time, right at the time he found out she was pregnant. He’s paid child support the entire time. Fast forward 2-3 years he’s settled down is married with his own family. And as she hears he has had progesss in his life she keeps asking for more and more child support. He has always mentioned seeing the child and having relationship with her but the mother always says it’s not in the best interest of the child. what can be done in this case or were to start? Our family doesn’t find it fair that she can continue to bully for more money but not allow a relationship.
    She still lives at home with her parents and is on her third child with a different man. All three fathers are not in the picture. My brother is the only one paying child support.

    • Sandy McCarthy July 15, 2017 at 2:33 pm - Reply

      He probably should file an action for visitation as soon as possible so he can get an order to start having a relationship with his child. Call us for help with the paperwork. 800-747-2780.

      • leah October 4, 2017 at 5:14 am - Reply

        this isn’t going to be a long post so please , if anyone can see this and knows how to help me in any way contact me. Okay , so to start off a few months ago my cousin found out she was pregnant and she doesn’t know who the father is. She has 3 kids already and doesn’t want another .. she also knows that i want , more than anything , is a child. she has decided that she wants me to have the baby. That has made me so happy and i’ve been through so much. that’s all i want. So i said yes , i will take the baby and love it and give it all that she or he could possibly need or want. When i was 16 years old , i was diagnosed with PCOS and it’s hard for me to have kids. i’m also not sexually active and pretty much all i do is work and home. i want more than anything to be a mom. I have enough money to take care of a child but i don’t have enough for attorneys and lawyers and courts. My first question is , can she tell the hospital that shit wants to relinquish her rights and I care for the baby? i’ve raised babies since i was 17 and out of the courts just taking them in , nurturing and raising them for months and months and years and then their moms come and get them. I want my cousins baby . The baby would be so happy and taken care of because that’s all i see myself doing as of now is being a mom and working. I fear that if she were to tell the hospital that she wants me to have the baby , that they wouldnt let me and they would take the baby and put it in the system. that would crush me 🙁 i’ve planned for months and invested in so much already i’ve saved money so that the baby could hav everything and then some since i found out that she wanted me to have the baby. Please , someone help me. Can she sign over her rights to me or will all of this praying and hoping and happiness all be for nothing. .. i hope someone sees this.

        • Sandy McCarthy October 4, 2017 at 9:35 am - Reply

          Leah – unfortunately you will have to involve the courts and file paperwork. You first will probably want to file a guardianship for the baby and then afterwards a formal petition to adopt. We can certainly help you with this type of paperwork at a far less cost than an attorney but it still will not be a cheap process. Contact us by phone at 800-747-2780 if you would like to hire our services.

  15. cyndi July 18, 2017 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    what happens when the father is homeless and jobless and wants to give up his rights due to he cant afford what they want him to pay and there threatening to put him in jail if he doesn’t pay he has no job how does he do this as he sinks deeper and deeper

    • Sandy McCarthy July 19, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

      I do not know of anyway to give up parental rights. He may want to speak to an attorney. If he has no income or low income, he may need to go in and modify the support order.

  16. Briana August 10, 2017 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    I filed for divorce and requested full legal and physical custody of my kids. My ex did not contest. Does that mean he is giving up his legal rights to the kids?

    • Sandy McCarthy August 11, 2017 at 2:40 am - Reply

      Hi Briana – no that is not what it means. Full Custody by one parent does not mean the other parent is relinquishing parental rights.

  17. Jess August 15, 2017 at 2:44 am - Reply

    My husband has the rights to his children but he pays child support can he give up his rights

    • Sandy McCarthy August 15, 2017 at 4:40 am - Reply

      I am not aware of any way a parent can give up parental rights to avoid paying child support. Speak to an attorney on this issue.

  18. Aelx August 21, 2017 at 6:13 am - Reply

    Hello at 17 I had a child with a girl.. Im now 26 I’ve never met the child due to his mother not wanting me in his life.. she doesn’t want me in his life cause I’m in and out of jail and I’m a convicted felon. She’s been married since 2011 now has 3 kids with her husband.. she had recently told a family member of mine that she wants me to sign over MY rights because she doesn’t want the child knowing about me since he’s getting older. Her hisband wants to take over and has done a good job taking care of him. I’m willing to give up my rights but what do I tell the people at the family court when I go.? Where do I start.. She doesn’t “Have Time” to go down to court to tell them herself so she asked me to go down and talk to then? She’s really lazy and always makes up excuses as to why she can’t go. She says she wants this to be over with before he starts school because she wants him to NOT have my last name anymore.. like I said I’ve never met the kid cause she doesn’t allow me near him. We just want this process to happen before he starts asking questions. I don’t get how she dislikes me so much and doesn’t want me in this child’s life but she doesn’t take action her self. Courts have to stop siding with these “women” so much.. I over heard his grandma has section 8 through the child but he doesn’t even live with his grandmother he lives with his mom and her husband.. so there basically committing fraud .

    • Sandy McCarthy August 31, 2017 at 4:33 am - Reply

      If a stepfather is interested in adopting a child, they will need to file the adoption process. I do not believe it is something you can file on your end. Talk to an attorney if you need legal advice.

  19. Pastelderon September 7, 2017 at 8:38 am - Reply

    Hi Sandy, my pregnancy was unexpected, and my ex boyfriend wanted me to abort. When I decided to keep the baby, my ex disappeared. He refused to answer my calls and texts. What can I do to have him relinquish his rights to my son? I went through a bad depression copping with the abandonment, and do not want a deadbeat in my sons’ life. Thanks so much for your help.

    • Sandy McCarthy September 9, 2017 at 3:39 am - Reply

      I do not believe there is any way to force another parent to give up their parental rights other than through an adoption proceeding. You may want to consult an attorney but this is just my personal opinion based on my understanding of the California laws.

  20. Andrea sheldon September 7, 2017 at 10:58 pm - Reply

    My daughter wants to give me temporary custody of her baby while she straightens her life out.
    If she fills out a form and we have a witness will this be enough or do we have to go through the courts?

    • Sandy McCarthy September 9, 2017 at 3:42 am - Reply

      There is a special form that we can prepare giving you authorization to care for the child, make medical decisions and other legal decisions. Please give us a call if you would like us to help you prepare that paperwork. 800-747-2780.

  21. Kimberly September 9, 2017 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    My sister wants me to adopt her baby. I already have guardianship of him. I’m being told that I can’t adopt until he’s lived with me for 6 months. So can she sign a notarized paper giving up her rights and giving me full custody?

    • Sandy McCarthy September 10, 2017 at 2:31 am - Reply

      I am not aware of any such process. You may want to talk to an attorney.

  22. Juliana September 21, 2017 at 3:53 am - Reply

    Hi, My partner had a child at a young age and the mother of his child does not allow him to see the child and continues to ask for child support. We have 2 children together and he is currently unemployed and has sent in paperwork to lower the payments and they keep denying the paperwork. What can we do in this situation? We have tried talking to the mother but it is impossible to get any sense in her.

    • Sandy McCarthy September 21, 2017 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      Child support is directly correlated with amount of time spent with the child. That is why your partner is paying so much. Has he actually filed a motion or is he just dealing with the DCSS office? How old is the child? Does he want to start a relationship with the child? Give us a call
      at 800-747-2780.

  23. Amy Jubala September 21, 2017 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    Hi there sandy, my 12 yr old daughters “birth” father is in and out of jail/ prison with numerous drug and stealing in all type of ways charges. He has not been in her life in a steady way even when we were together. He has paid a like 3x but this is besides the point. I don’t want anything from him! I am currently married now and have been with my husband for 7 yrs and he has taken care of our daughter in every way and has been with her since she was 4. I was in hopes at one time that her “birth” father would eventually step up but my daughter actually really wants for her “real ” father (step-father) to adopt her. I have not yet asked for him to sign over his right but he is in prison. Do I need to write to him before I put all of the paperwork in?

    • Sandy McCarthy September 21, 2017 at 12:24 pm - Reply

      Hi Amy – This would be a two part process 1) the stepparent adoption and 2) terminating the father’s parental rights. We can help you with both of these things. You don’t need to notify him ahead of filing the paperwork. Give us a call at 800-747-2780 ext 0.

  24. Brandon September 22, 2017 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    I have a friend that his sister is going to have her rights removed. He just found out about it. Is there anyway she can just sign her rights over to her brother?

    • Sandy McCarthy September 23, 2017 at 10:31 am - Reply

      Does he want to adopt the child?

      • Tracy smith January 10, 2018 at 2:49 pm - Reply

        My kids are grown an i dont owe child support nothing .can i still give up my rights as the father

        • Sandy McCarthy January 12, 2018 at 4:21 am - Reply

          Check with an attorney but I don’t believe you can give up your rights as a father. You certainly can disinherit a child with proper estate planning documentation, if that is your concern.

  25. Ann September 27, 2017 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Mine is a question for a fiction piece I am writing;
    A child is born in New York and the parents split up when the child is 7. The mother leaves the state and never seeks any contact and the father never seeks child support or bothers to involve the courts for legal custody since he sees it as a non issue. Then 6 years later, the child now being 13, the father is killed in a car accident. The mother is contacted, she now has a new family and wants nothing to do with her teenager, and there is no other family. Would the courts force her to take the child or would they let her turn him/her over to foster care with the (slim) hope that s/he could be adopted?

    • Sandy McCarthy September 27, 2017 at 7:40 pm - Reply

      Well we don’t prepare documents for New York so you probably should ask someone there. However it is an interesting fictional problem and so theoretically I suppose you could make up any story you wanted. Good luck with your writing!

  26. Alexis October 1, 2017 at 1:33 pm - Reply

    Im pregnant and the father of the child has been making threats for me to kill the child is there any way i can send him a voluntary parental termination form before the baby comes

    • Sandy McCarthy October 2, 2017 at 10:02 am - Reply

      I do not believe so.

  27. Kaneisini October 12, 2017 at 10:39 am - Reply

    I want my daughter’s father to sign off all rights. How or where do I start?

    • Sandy McCarthy October 12, 2017 at 10:40 am - Reply

      The only way I know of a parent to sign off would be for another father to adopt the child.

  28. Mkeen October 15, 2017 at 8:47 am - Reply

    I been divorced for sometime now I have a good relationship with thr kids we have 50/50 shared custody, but ever since I been here in country I’m been miserable, I have no family or friends, I’m planning of going back overseas,I know my kids would be better off here with their dad,if I gave up my parental right and have their dad have control of everything, Can I still see my kids if I decided to come back and see them?

    • Sandy McCarthy October 17, 2017 at 2:38 pm - Reply

      I do not believe you can give up your parental rights but you and the other parent can certainly create a modified agreement that would allow you to see your children periodically if you choose to do that. Maintaining contact with your children, even if you life in another country, would certainly be important to your children. We can help you create the required documentation so that the new order will reflect the new arrangement. Give us a call at 800-747-2780.

  29. Lindsey Taylor October 17, 2017 at 1:20 am - Reply

    My children’s ( age 12&13) father has had no contact with our kids for going on 3 years. He has no legal, no physical and no visitation. He has yet to go back into court and request a change in the order and have a relationship with our children. He avoids child support and has had his rights terminated to his youngest child ( not in common).

    My husband of 4 years wants to adopt them. Will this be a hard process?

    • Sandy McCarthy October 17, 2017 at 2:35 pm - Reply

      There may be an extra process that you would have to go through to petition to terminate his parental right if he is not willing to sign a consent form. We have handled many stepparent adoption like this. We can certainly help with both the stepparent adoption and the termination of parental rights proceeding. Give us a call at 800-747-2780.

  30. Josie October 19, 2017 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    So my dad moved me and my sisters somewhere we do not want to be in. Our father has told us multiple times that he will take us to foster care since we do not want to live with him. There has been multiple times where we have moved with his “girlfriends”. Me and my sisters decided to tell him we don’t wanna live with him. What would our mom have to do to get us.?

    • Sandy McCarthy October 25, 2017 at 11:39 pm - Reply

      This is quite a sad story you have told us. Your mother would have to file a motion for custody of the children. There also may be an advocacy group for children that you could contact for help. I would contact your mom and see if she can get some documents filed with the court.

  31. Becky November 10, 2017 at 5:40 am - Reply

    I am legal guardian of a minor, I have had her since she was born, she is now 5 years old. Both biological parents are in prison serving life sentences for multiple felony convictions, including murder. I would like to terminate parental rights and adopt her. She has been with me for over 5 years and is in a stable, loving home. She excells in school and is very articulate regarding her feelings. She wants me to adopt her. What would my first steps be? Average cost? Length of the process, from filing to finalization? I know the biological father will support the adoption but the biological mother will want to fight it. How is her fighting it an option when she is serving life in prison?

    • Sandy McCarthy November 18, 2017 at 5:12 am - Reply

      You may be able to file an adoption proceeding in conjunction with a petition to terminate parental rights. Contact us by phone at 800-747-2780.

  32. Andrea November 28, 2017 at 8:42 am - Reply

    Just a quick question. My father terminated his rights to me when I was 14. My mother was nowhere to be found, so my brother (12) and I were adopted by my grandparents. I am now 27, married for 6 years, with two children (1 & 4). Does my biological father have any grounds to sue me for grandparent rights to my kids? I would rather him not be in their lives. Any answers would be appreciated.

    • Sandy McCarthy November 30, 2017 at 6:14 pm - Reply

      Andrea – this is a question you should present to an attorney but my gut feeling is that all rights a biological father may have had (including grandfather rights) would be terminated through the adoption.

  33. Hasani Almendarez December 5, 2017 at 5:29 am - Reply

    I’m an adoptive parent to a 12 year old child who has ADHD and continuous behavioral problems how do I relinquish my rights

    • Sandy McCarthy December 11, 2017 at 7:23 pm - Reply

      I am not aware of any way to relinquish parental rights voluntarily short of someone adopting the child. You may want to seek legal advice from an attorney.

  34. Jaime December 5, 2017 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    My X tried to sign over parental rights through the court to avoid Jail time for missing his visitations and not paying child support. Instead they took away his visitation but still have him pay child support. I still let him see our child when he wants but months go by and he pretty much only shows up again during Holiday times. My daughter understands that she is still allowed to have relationship with him but he “isn’t a good dad” in her opinion. Fast foreward to current and My boyfriend for the past 5 years has been raising her with me and she calls him dad. My boyfriend wants to adopt her and her biological Father would totally concent to this as he doesn’t want to even make any decisions for her and especially if he gets off with not paying any more child support. The adoption process though is expensive and time consuming and Bio dad wouldn’t even take time to come to court so basically it would all be on us. Would it maybe be better to try for just getting my boyfriend guardianship? And what is the difference between guardianship and adoption? From reading the comments I get that you prepair paperwork, but could I possibly get help with finding out what kind of paperwork I should be asking for?

    • Sandy McCarthy December 25, 2017 at 3:23 pm - Reply

      As long as you have custody of your daughter, it would not seem possible for your boyfriend to file guardianship. If the two of you get married, you could file a stepparent adoption which we could help prepare. Give our office a call at 800-747-2780 for more information.

  35. Tina Moore December 14, 2017 at 11:57 pm - Reply

    Although the parental rights cannot be terminated of a parent who has abandoned/neglected thier children (in this instance goes to “work” for the day and doesnt return for two weeks leaving the household with no car and not even enough money to give the child for lunch money, then begins showing up rarely(once a month, calls never and offers minimal to zero support), what rights and visitation would you suspect they would get in the divorce process? i know it would depend on the situation, but just the fact that one can leave their children with nothingwould deem that person unfit in my opinion. maybe supervised visits?

    • Sandy McCarthy December 15, 2017 at 3:49 pm - Reply

      Our roll in the document preparation process would be to present the facts of the situation as clearly as possible and in support of whatever custody/visitation order you would like to achieve. Contact us at 800-747-2780 for help with this process. Based on your story, it sounds like you should get an order asap to protect your children and yourself.

  36. Selene December 25, 2017 at 7:45 am - Reply

    Hi my daughters father wants to sign his rights over to me the mother would my daughter still have his last name

    • Sandy McCarthy December 25, 2017 at 3:04 pm - Reply

      To my understanding, a father cannot relinquish his rights unless another person is planning to adopt the child and assume that responsibility. You may want to talk to an attorney regarding this.

      • Marie December 29, 2017 at 5:16 am - Reply

        My lawyer filed everything with the courts a year ago, with agreement from the judge. That part is not in question. I am 100% the sole legal and physical custodial parent. My question and primary concern is whether the biological father can petition to regain parental rights in CA? If so, is this until she’s 18 or 3 year from said termination? Note: The voluntarily termination pertains to custodial rights, only. He is unable to forfeit financial responsibility.

        • Sandy McCarthy January 3, 2018 at 4:56 am - Reply

          I am unclear of your question and your facts. You may want to consult with a lawyer if you want to discuss legal rights and remedies.

  37. Allan December 27, 2017 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    I went to court last month to try and regain custody of my child(6 years old). I stopped seeing my child two years ago due to false allegations made by the mother. I still continued to pay my child support on time. Long story short courts denied my request for custody and said,”It would turn my child’s world upside down, and it was in the best interest for me to not be part of my child’s life.” I would also like to note I have no criminal record and have been working at the same location for over 8 years and have being living in stable home. That being said, is it possible for me to have my rights terminated due to courts ruling its in the best interest of the child and mother not wanting me in child’s life? Thank you.

    • Sandy McCarthy December 29, 2017 at 5:19 am - Reply

      I would suggest you speak with an attorney regarding your possible options.

    • Sandy McCarthy January 12, 2018 at 4:41 am - Reply

      I would contact an attorney and get legal advice regarding this.

  38. Marie December 29, 2017 at 4:53 am - Reply

    My daughter is 3, and I am her sole legal and custodial parent… Thank goodness! My question is; in the state of CA can the biological father petition to reinstate his parental right when he voluntarily forfeited? As a plea bargain to avoid child support and potentially avoid repaying the state for accepting EDD while gainfully employed. The latter is separate, yet partly what led to his plea offer. He released his rights roughly a year ago.

    • Sandy McCarthy December 29, 2017 at 5:23 am - Reply

      This is a legal question that would need to be answered by an attorney.

  39. Jeff January 8, 2018 at 10:44 am - Reply

    Hello Sandy.
    My name is Jeffrey Im 27 years of age going through a rough path. Im the third child out of 7. My mother gave up her rights when I was born. My family on her side took over and stepped in. I moved home to home with different family member and I always had questions since the she on 6. I never knew my dad but his name is on my birth certificate. My mother has never been in my life and I have abandonment issues over. I asked my mother multiple times who my dad was and she would tell me in different time frames a different man. I just found my dad and his family in the end of 2016 and they have been looking for me all over but since I was in the system it may have been hard. I have lost everything I owned due to depression and all the lies. My cousin who raised me since I was 7 had done everything she could to take care of me. In may I had found a letter from a old therapy/psych evaluation stating and informing that due to being emotionally abused and abandoned I will need to be further evaluated and I never got that help from family. Now Im confused and Im emotionally ddepressed because my mom shows no care on her fault or has any concern on how it effected me. Reading this article has me questioning even more because my father knew I was born and my mom never mentioned anything to me. I was lied to and I feel used by family because I feel all that Im going through has a big effect on me. My first and middle name is from my oldest and two younger sisters father who as well lied to me and tried to build a father and son relationship. I know there is not much I could do now that Im older but I feel in my hart that its not rite for me to be emotionally abused by family members and I nevEr received the help I needed to get through life. Is there something wrong with that picture I was in the system when I was born my safety and concern by the courts were not met at all. Social workers didnt help at all either . I just need help answers and my family are just going to lie or deny. Please help

    • Sandy McCarthy January 12, 2018 at 4:34 am - Reply

      I am so sorry you have experienced such feelings of rejection, abandonment and dishonesty throughout your life. I would definitely recommend that you get involved in a support group or get one-on-one personal counseling to help you find a positive way to deal with your past and look forward to your future. Acknowledging what happened to you in your early years is a positive step and your paste does not have to define who you are. I wish you the best of luck in surrounding yourself with positive energy.

  40. Robert steinhall January 15, 2018 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    My stepson is 21 and he wants his father to give up his parental rights and me adopt him.with him being 21 now should this be and easy process

    • Sandy McCarthy January 15, 2018 at 4:18 pm - Reply

      Hi Robert – Since your stepson is 21 and an adult, we can help you prepare an adult adoption. The biological father does not have to be noticed or give consent and other than the paperwork, the process for you and your stepson would be as easy as showing up to the one hearing where the Judge will make the father/son relationship legal. Please give us a call at 800-747-2780 for assistance.

  41. Elizabeth moreno January 24, 2018 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    My husband x wife have custody of his kids and she want to move texas and want him pay child support and 50%medical bills. Were tire of she want more money and more.he don’t make much money and pay child support If he give his turn his right does she have agred with it? He can afford to pay child support and half medical bills that why he turn over his right we have family together and we don’t make with his money , she always make are life miserable.

    • Sandy McCarthy February 4, 2018 at 12:47 am - Reply

      Child support in California is based on a variety of factors, one of which is income of the parties and the other is related to the amount of time the non-custodial parent spends with the children. If your husband has an ongoing relationship with the children, it would be very unusual for a court to allow a mother to simply move out of state with the children. Perhaps you should talk to an attorney to clarify your legal rights in this situation. If you need help preparing paperwork, give our office a call.

  42. Cj Barclay January 27, 2018 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    I can no longer care for my child, how can I make his biological dad take over his care & custody? He hasn’t been involved since the child was 4, but he has paid (voluntarily) a tiny bit of support.

    • Sandy McCarthy February 4, 2018 at 12:40 am - Reply

      I know of no legal way to force an absent parent to take over. I would suggest you contacting the father and having a heart-to-heart discussion with him about your situation.

  43. Tina February 14, 2018 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    Hi, my husband’s ex girlfriend was pregnant when he left her. She said it wasn’t his. Years later we seen pictures of her. She went out of her way to try and hide her and still does. She basically gave her up to her “father”. Not her real father. And just in the last couple months she gave her up for adoption to the “fathers” family, his sister. I’m pretty sure she only did that so he couldn’t gain custody of her. She looks exactly like her real father. What can we do to get custody of Her? He never abandoned her or gave up his rights so she could be adopted. How could he abandon her when the mother kept saying it wasn’t his, still to this day she says she isn’t his, when she clearly is. What do we do???

    • Sandy McCarthy February 20, 2018 at 2:39 am - Reply

      Your husband should’ve probably filed a petition to determine paternity long ago if he was interested in having paternity validated. if he wants to object to the adoption, he may want to get an attorney involved.

  44. Carol February 19, 2018 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    My son has a 4 year old and I’m married to the mother she is willing to give him full custody of her what shall he do to get this done

    • Sandy McCarthy February 20, 2018 at 2:26 am - Reply

      I’m not sure I understand your situation correctly. From your post, you indicate that you are married to the mother of your son’s child? So this child is your grandchild and you are married to the child’s mother? if that is the case that would make you a stepparent and I would assume you could file a stepparent adoption if the father of the child is willing to relinquish their parental rights. Please call the office at 800-747-2780 for further assistance.

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