There are some cases in which parents may voluntarily sign over their rights to their children, taking away both the responsibilities and privileges that often come with having kids. Very rarely do judges allow parents to go this route, as there must be a good reason, aside from not wanting to pay child support. The process often varies by location, but in general, it requires the parent to fill out a petition for termination of parental rights. There will then be a hearing in which the judge decides whether to grant the request, only after explaining to the parent the rights and responsibilities that are being relinquished.
The first step to signing over parental rights is typically to fill out a petition for termination of parental rights. This requires the parent to fill out the name, age, and address of the child, as well as the same information for the parents or legal guardian of the child. If this information is unknown, the parent must explain why that is. Additionally, the parent needs to explain why he or she wants to terminate these rights, and then sign the form.
In most cases, the parent needs a good reason for signing over parental rights, as it is considered a serious event that judges do not tend to grant often. The most common reason to voluntarily sign over rights is for an adoption to take place, usually by the custodial parent's new spouse. In order for the new husband or wife to adopt the child, the absent parent must sign over the rights voluntarily. Since this process is usually completed for the good of the child, it is usually granted by a judge. On the other hand, in cases of irreconcilable differences with the other parent, or when a parent is trying to get out of paying child support, a judge will not usually grant approval since neither situation is typically in the child's best interest.
Once the application to terminate parental rights has been filed, there is usually a hearing so that a judge can make a decision. In most cases, the judge will carefully explain to the parent the consequences of signing over his or her parental rights. For example, the rights to visitation, tax cuts, and making decisions that will affect the child are all relinquished. In general, most courts rarely grant this request, as there are few good reasons for voluntarily relinquishing parental rights.