After the birth, a parent can give up physical and legal custody of her baby without permanently severing all parental rights, like an adoption would, by filing a custody consent order in family court. Both the parent and the friend have to appear before a judge. The judge has to find that the person who will be getting custody of the baby is a fit parent and the person giving up custody of her baby is doing so of her own free will. The friend will then have most of the rights of a parent and will be empowered to make all decision for the baby, such as education and health decisions.
Go to a local family court with the person who will be getting custody. Ask the clerk for custody forms, where there is consent. The person who will be getting custody completes the “complaint.” The person who is getting custody completes the “answer.”
Complete the forms carefully and thoughtfully. The judge will be looking to these forms to determine what is in the best interest of the child. Explain as best as you can why this custody arrangement would be the best thing for the baby.
File the complaint and the answer with the court. Once the documents are filed, the court can assign a hearing date before the judge.
Attend the assigned hearing date. The judge will talk to both parties and ask their wishes. Explain your wishes honestly to the judge. The judge, based on what would be in the best interest of the child, can order permanent custody or order temporary custody and ask both parties to attend services such as counseling or parenting classes and then revisit the issue.
- "Children and the Law"; Douglas E. Abrams et al.; 2007
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