Paternity rights refer to the rights and responsibilities attached to the legally acknowledged father of a child or children. Procedures and forms related to terminating these rights generally fall under each state’s “termination of parental rights” policies and proceedings. Despite each state’s distinctions, the procedures, forms and other documents related to the termination of parental rights tend to share common characteristics.
State Putative Father Registry Form
Putative fathers are alleged or presumed fathers of nonmarital children. Every state has a putative father registry. One function of the registry is to provide the state with primary contact information that can help prospective adoptive couples obtain the father’s consent to terminate parental rights. There is no fee to complete the form and it typically involves providing name, address, phone number, social security number, and information about the child and mother.
Because each state establishes its own policies and procedures for terminating parental rights, it is crucial that you be informed about your particular state’s guidelines and consult with a legal professional for further advice.
Petition for Termination of Parental Rights
A termination of parental rights completely severs the rights, powers, privileges, duties and all other obligations between a parent and child. It can be either voluntary or involuntary. The grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights imposed by the court vary for each state, but typically involve cases of abuse, neglect, abandonment, substance abuse and mental illness.
Voluntary termination of parental rights can also require a formal court petition. The court considers the child’s “best interests” when reviewing and deciding to issue the order for termination. However, in the case of adoption, a father can voluntarily relinquish his parental rights without having to engage in formal termination proceedings. This option varies between states.
Because the petition for termination of parental rights is a formal court document, it is usually filed by an attorney or legal professional.
Involuntary petition for termination of parental rights claims require supporting evidence. This includes but is not limited to testimony from expert witnesses in cases where mental health and sickness is a factor, producing relevant prior medical history and testimony from family members, and those who have observed the parent-child relationship.
Involuntary termination of parental rights judgments can be appealed. The appeals process involves legal representation. Documents include a notice of appeal, delivery of the trial court record to the appellate court, appellant and appellee briefs and, in certain circumstances, oral arguments.
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