Voluntarily surrendering, or terminating, parental rights over a single child or multiple children is referred to legally as relinquishment. Relinquishment laws vary by individual jurisdiction since family law is a state matter, rather than federal law. Accordingly, parents in Maryland can terminate parental rights of a single child (and still retain their parental rights over another child) to the state, to an adoptive family or to the other parent. Certain processes must be adhered to in order to properly relinquish parental rights.
Relinquishing Parental Rights in Maryland
Write a petition to relinquish parental rights of a child or children. You must identify the child or children in the petition for whom you would like to terminate parental rights. If applicable, you can also include the person you would like to relinquish your parental rights to. An explanation as to why you are seeking termination of parental rights must be included. If, for example, you do not believe you are financially or mentally capable of caring for the child or children and cannot provide them with the proper and basic needs, this needs to be stated.
Sign the drafted petition in front of a Maryland commissioned notary public. In cases where both parents have opted to relinquish their parental rights, they must both be present to the sign the petition.
File the signed petition in the county clerk's office. The petition must be filed in the county that you currently reside in. Also, all filing fees must be paid and fees vary by county.
Go to the hearing scheduled by the court. Once the petition is filed, the court will schedule a hearing date and time that you (or both parents if applicable) must attend to present your specific parental-rights termination request to the court.