There are several reasons a father may sign over his parental rights: he may not be able to financially support the child and may not have contact with the child, or a stepparent may be considered more worthy of those rights, among other reasons. There are two ways for a father's parental rights to be terminated in Illinois. It may be done voluntarily through the courts or involuntarily by the court taking away your rights without your consent.
Take a paternity test. If you are unsure of your paternity and supposedly fathered the child while unmarried, you should take a paternity test. If you are unmarried and not the father, you will not have any paternity rights.
Find out what your rights are as a parent and those implications on you as a father. One resource is the National Fathers Resource Center.
Think through your decision. Once you have had your rights terminated, the decision is hard to reverse. You need to be sure you have thought the decision through before accumulating a hefty attorney's bill and before your rights are taken away.
You should speak with an attorney before signing away your father's rights. If you are giving up your rights to solve a perceived problem, an attorney can let you know if there is a better way to go about things. An attorney will also facilitate the process. Request a free initial consultation before asking someone to represent you.
File with the court. Your attorney will help you file a motion with the court to terminate your rights. You will sign an affidavit declaring your intent, after which a court date will be scheduled. For this to motion to be grated, there will have to be someone else assuming the parental rights on your behalf such as a stepparent or adoptive father.
See if you qualify for involuntary termination. A court has the option to involuntarily take away your rights. If you have committed child abuse or another such crime, the court will take away your paternal rights whether you like it or not.
The state of Illinois assumes that an unmarried man who fathers a child either is not interested in paternal rights or is too hard to track down to allow him father's rights. If a man thinks he has fathered a child, he can sign up for the Putative Father's Registry to ensure that father's rights will be given to him. However, if you want to sign over your father's rights, do not register for this program. If you are already registered but want to sign over your rights, you will have to go through the court process.