In some cases where a child's parents are no longer together, one parent may decide to voluntarily give up rights to see the child. For this to happen, the parent must petition the court to terminate his rights officially. While no one can force a parent to see his child, even with a court order, making the termination of rights legal frees the parent of any future obligations.
Best Interest of the Child
According to Indiana law, a child must have two parents responsible for him at all times. This means that it can be difficult to terminate your parental rights if there is no one to step in and adopt. However, if you simply do not want to have visitation rights to your child, it is easier to accomplish as you can still be held financially responsible for your child if necessary. In Indiana, though, the court wants only what is best for the child and will take that into account. In many cases, this means keeping both parents involved in the child's life.
In most cases in Indiana where a parent wants to give up visitation rights to her child, someone else must be willing to step in and adopt the child. If only one parent is seeking to end her rights to the child, the other parent usually must be married and his spouse must be willing to adopt the child. If both parents want to terminate their rights, they must take steps to line up an adoptive family for the child before completing the termination process.
Anytime a parent wishes to terminate his rights to a child in Indiana, a court hearing must be held. This is to ensure that no parent is giving up rights to his child without being properly informed and to ensure that the termination is in the child's best interest. If the parent appears in court, the judge must inform the parent of the consequences of parental termination and what their parental rights are. After the judge lets the parent know what a termination will mean for him and his child, the judge will ask him whether this is what he wants. A notarized letter can also serve as acceptance of the termination.
In Indiana parental termination cases, the parents of the child cannot commonly petition for termination of rights to the child. This is to avoid a child being abandoned and left with no one that is financially responsible. The only exception to this rule is when one parent remarries and the other parent wants to terminate rights to allow the stepparent to adopt. in most cases, a lawyer for the child and family services, child advocate or the guardian ad litem can file for termination of rights on behalf of the child.