Can I terminate my parental rights or that of my ex-spouse? This is a question that comes up from time to time from divorcing or already divorced individuals. Sometimes, a non-custodial parent lacks involvement with their child and wants to cease their child support obligation. Other times, one spouse wants their ex completely out of their life enabling them to move forward.
For voluntary termination of parental rights, most state laws will require the consent of both the custodial parent and the parent whose parental rights are to be terminated. Even if both parents agree that the termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child, the court will likely be reluctant to sever parental ties believing that children generally benefit from having a relationship with both parents.
Courts are particularly cautious in terminating the rights of parents because they do not want to terminate a parent’s financial obligation to support the child. Such a termination may mean that the child will be denied opportunities otherwise available to him or her or that the remaining custodial parent may need public assistance to support the minor child putting a burden on the state. The bottom line is that the court will not punish a child when parents are trying to avoid their financial or emotional responsibilities.
Although, just merely ‘wanting to move on’ or ‘not wanting to continue support’ are not seen as good cause for terminating parental rights, doing so to facilitate an adoption is sometimes viewed favorably by the court. In this scenario, someone such as a step parent wishes to adopt a child and both parents are agreeable to terminating the non-custodial parent’s rights. The court will often consider these arrangements because there is someone who wishes to support and care for the child, replacing a parent who no longer wishes to have a parental connection to the child.
A qualified family law attorney can assist the parties in drafting a consent agreement for the termination of parental rights. With the agreement of both parents and a thorough evaluation of what is in the best interest of the child, the court may approve a termination of parental rights. If you have a family law issue concerning termination of parental rights, child custody and support, divorce, or adoption, contact the Law Offices of Ronald L. Bell for help today.