Table of Contents:
- Giving Up Father's Parental Rights in Florida
- How to Sign Over Father Rights in Illinois
- How to Give Up a Father's Parental Rights in Ohio
- Can a Father Sign Off Rights in Indiana?
The state of Florida does not terminate parental rights lightly. Typically, it will only do so if the child is committed to the care of a state agency and put up for adoption. The court will not allow a father to simply give up their parental rights without good reason if the child is to remain with the mother or family. The laws concerning termination of parental rights are contained in Chapter 39 of the Florida Statutes.
Identify a statutory ground for terminating your rights as a father. Florida Statutes Section 39.811(6) lists several reasons a father can lose his parental rights. These are if the father's identity is unknown, if the father was a single-parent and adopted the child, if protection of the child demands termination of the father's rights, if there is no other parent besides the father, if the father is incarcerated for violent crimes or expected to be incarcerated through the child's 18th birthday, if the father has abused the child or another child, or if the father has been convicted of a violent crime against the other parent, the child or another child of the other parent.
Execute a voluntary surrender document. Under Florida Statutes Section 39.806(1)(a), a father can voluntarily surrender parental rights by executing a document to that effect before two witnesses and a notary public. The document should give consent to a court order terminating parental rights in the father. If the child is to remain with the mother, however, the surrender will not take effect until a state court finds a reason as listed in Florida Statutes Section 39.811 why the father should lose parental rights.
Complete and file the petition for termination of parental rights with the juvenile division of your local state court. Either you or the child's mother or guardian can submit the petition to the local state courthouse. The petition is a formal request that your parental rights be terminated by the court. Include a copy of the voluntary surrender document with the petition. A petition form can be obtained at the courthouse.
Serve the petition. A copy of the petition and the court summons issued by the clerk must be served to both parents, and any guardian caring for the child. This is usually done by either the county sheriff, or a private process server.
Attend an advisory hearing. The clerk will schedule an advisory hearing on termination of parental rights to occur within 21 days of the petition being filed. Legal counsel for the parents and a separate counsel for the child will be appointed by the court if necessary. At the hearing, evidence should be presented proving that you satisfy at least one of the statutory grounds for termination of parental rights outlined in Florida Statutes Section 39.811.
Attend the adjudicatory hearing. Within 45 days of the advisory hearing, the court will conduct an adjudicatory hearing at which it will be decided whether or not to terminate your parental rights.
The voluntary surrender described is sufficient to give up a father's parental rights if it is signed by both parents, or there is no mother and the Florida Department of Children and Families is willing to take custody of the child.
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.
Contact an attorney knowledgeable about adoption or child custody law. In the case of adoption, he can create a statement regarding your relinquishment of rights and consent to adoption. If you're a noncustodial parent wanting to relinquish rights and financial responsibility, an attorney will be able to help you determine if that's possible in your case.
Sign and fill out the form regarding the Statement Concerning Ohio Laws and Adoption Materials. With this form you consent or deny access to information about you by the adopted child when he turns 18 (with adoptive parent consent) or 21 or older.
Attend a hearing at court. Depending on the age of the child and other circumstances, you may be asked to appear before a judge regarding the relinquishment of your rights. You'll be asked questions about your reasons for relinquishing as well as making sure you've been made aware of your rights in the proceedings. If the judge is satisfied with the situation, he can sign the termination order.
In Indiana, both parents may agree to put a child up for adoption. This situation, called voluntary termination of parental rights, is the only way in which a father can voluntarily give up his rights and responsibilities towards his child (Indiana Code Article 35). Voluntary termination can also occur if both parents agree; a father may only sign off his rights if the mother concurs.
A father may try to give up his rights by refusing to accept paternity. If a man refuses paternity of a child the mother asserts he parented, the mother may request a court-ordered blood paternity test. If the man is the father, he must accept the rights and responsibilities of fatherhood.
In Indiana, a father may give up custody of his child. However, this does not change the responsibilities of paternity; he is still responsible for child support and any other court-mandated requirements.