How to Give Up Parental Rights and Child Custody

by Kimberly Turtenwald

Courts generally prefer to keep both parents as a part of their child's life as long as they don't pose a risk to the child's safety. In some cases, however, one or both parents may not wish to be part of the child's life any longer. In these cases, the desires of the parents and their reasoning behind those desires must be taken into consideration to determine what is in the best interest of the child. A parent may petition the court to give up his or her parental rights and any custody of the child.

File a petition with the court requesting that your rights be terminated. The forms required vary by state so you should consult a local lawyer or the courthouse.

Attend any counseling sessions that may be required. Some states require that the parent requesting termination and the child involved attend counseling to ensure this request is in the best interest of the child.

Exhibit good cause for the termination of your rights. What is considered to be good cause varies by state, but includes stepparent adoption and any danger to the child. In some states, the process is easier if the child is younger than 1 year old.

Attend the hearing that is scheduled in front of the judge. The judge will ask questions, assess the situation and make a decision on whether to grant a termination of rights. In some cases, a full termination may not be granted. Instead, visitation may be terminated, but the financial responsibility remains.

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