Some of the toughest conversations I have are with parents who are considering terminating their parental rights. It’s never an easy discussion to have, to say the least, since the child (or children) involved are affected by a parent’s decision.
Some common reasons that may cause a parent in your position to sign over their parental rights include the following:
- The parent might be going through severe financial hardship and is unable to provide
- Perhaps both biological parents have been incarcerated
- Adjudicated or presumed fathers may discover that they aren’t the biological father
- Conception of the child was related to a sexual crime
- A pregnant mother may not be ready or willing to rear a child but does not wish to terminate the pregnancy
Whether you are the mother or father, there are a significant number of factors to carefully consider before signing over parental rights. There are also matters concerning your legal rights as well as the child’s.
Consider setting up a consultation with me first so that we can weigh all of your options together before going through the process of terminating parental rights. In the interim, consider the following information to help with your decision-making process.
What Does It Mean To Terminate Your Parental Rights?
In Texas, choosing to voluntarily terminate your rights as a parent means that you may no longer have any type of access to your child, nor will you have any say in decisions involving your child’s rearing — unless this is negotiated through the court.
If the court grants the termination, the child may be issued a new and updated birth certificate with the parent’s name removed.
Here are three important things to consider as you walk down this path of terminating parental rights.
1. Signing an Affidavit for Voluntary Relinquishment of Parental Rights
According to Texas law, specifically, Texas Family Code Section 161, a parent who wishes to terminate parental rights must sign a voluntary relinquishment of parental rights form. This form contains important information about yourself and any children involved.
Some of the most pertinent information included on the affidavit includes:
- A Waiver of Appearance in the case and a Waiver of Notice as to any hearings or orders being entered
- Listed items of anything that belongs to the child, including property or other assets
- A statement acknowledging that the mother or father fully understands that they are relinquishing their rights as a parent
- A statement of why the parent feels that signing over their parental rights would benefit the child
2. The Affidavit Must State whether Relinquishment is Revocable or Irrevocable
In some cases, a parent might add to the affidavit that giving up their rights is only temporary. In this case, the affidavit must include the reasoning behind this decision and, most importantly, how long the temporary measure will last.
The revocation is a time-sensitive matter. The revocation intention must be typed in boldface for all to see and understand. The statement needs to also include the name and address of the guardian so that this person is served with the proper paperwork.
Even if the relinquishment is not revocable, this must also be stated in the paperwork.
3. The Role of Adoption in Terminating Parental Rights
A third thing to consider is that if a parent gives up parental rights for adoption purposes, then the affidavit must indicate whether or not the child will be designated to adoptive parents or the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
This situation would normally involve a newborn or very young child, but can involve older children. In many cases, a pregnant mother may have already met the potential adoptive parents that she is considering giving the child to. Or she may choose to remain anonymous. In other situations, Child Protective Services (CPS) may become involved if there are no other immediate options and place the child under their protective custody.
This decision will also be included in the affidavit for parental rights termination. Once all paperwork is in order, then it is up to the court to either grant the request or not.
Keep in mind that all decisions made by the court are determined to be what’s best for the child. In some cases, the request can be denied if the judge is not convinced that the circumstances require parental rights termination.
Work With an Experienced Family Law Attorney to Assist You
Terminating your parental rights is a very complex procedure. As an attorney trained in the specialty of family law, I can help you walk through the process of signing over your parental rights if that’s what you decide.
I have a decade of experience assisting parents in Texas navigate family law matters, including child custody situations. I have come to gain and appreciate the respect of the clients that I have served in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County.
I will represent you to the fullest extent of Texas law to make certain you are treated fairly and that your concerns are heard in family court. Call my offices at 281-944-5485 or 979-267-7660 to discuss your situation. Let’s work together to make an informed decision if you are considering signing over parental rights.