How to Sign Over Rights As a Father

By George Lawrence J.D.
A court order is necessary for a father to give up his parental rights.

gavel image by Cora Reed from Fotolia.com

Decisions involving minor children, child custody, parental rights and parental obligations are very difficult to address; there is rarely a clear answer. On one side, states acknowledge that a child needs a permanent place to live and needs support, love and guidance from parental figures. On the other side, the state cannot force a parent, such as the father, to be the parental figure; a father can voluntarily give up his parental rights. Once a father voluntarily gives up his rights, all obligations and rights to that child disappear.

Draft a petition to voluntarily relinquishment parental rights. The precise form of petition may vary from state to state, but typically, you must list your name and address, state that you are the child’s father, acknowledge that you understand the effects of voluntarily relinquishing your rights and ask the court to accept your petition and remove your parental rights.

File this petition in a family law court or a juvenile law court (depending on your state’s court system). You must deliver copies of this petition to the child’s mother and any custody agencies that are working with your child.

Comply with any court orders to undergo a full examination. According to adoption.com, courts do not accept voluntarily parental rights revocations lightly. Some courts may require you to undergo an examination to ensure that you are making this choice completely with your free will.

Prove to the court that you understand the finality of the decision and that the decision is in your child’s best interests. Factors affecting a court’s decision to accept your voluntary parental rights revocation include whether the child bonds with you emotionally, whether abuse or neglect exists and the likelihood of the child being put in a permanent placement.

About the Author

Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.

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