Posts Tagged ‘parental rights’

Can I give up my parental rights?

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

I often have young men come into my office to ask if they can give up their parental rights to a child because their ex is pregnant.  Often the expectant mother has told the young man that he can give up his parental rights if he will just leave her and the child alone (and she promises not to ask for child support at any time in the future).

First of all, there really aren’t any parental rights until the child is born.

Also, you can NOT sign over your parental rights unless there is someone else ready, willing and able to take over (an example would be an adoption).

If the mother says you are the father, but you are not married, then you have the right to sign or not sign the birth certificate.  If you sign the birth certificate, you are stating that you will accept being the legal father of this child with all of the rights and responsibilities that come with being a father.  If you do not sign the birth certificate, then you are not the legal father until and unless other actions take place.

The mother can take you to court for child support, at which time you can request a DNA test to make sure you are the father.  If the court determines that you are the father via the DNA test results, they can then order you to pay child support.  If the court determines that you are not the father via DNA test results, then the court can not order you to pay child support based on the DNA results.

You can also go to court and accept responsibility for the child by stating under oath that you are the father without going the DNA route, but take note that you cannot take a DNA test later and overrule this statement so you had better be sure this is what you want to do.

If you have questions about this, or any legal topic, please contact the office of Beavers Law, P.C. at 757-234-4650 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.  You can also visit us on the web at www.BeaversLaw.com.

Terminating Parental Rights

Saturday, January 2nd, 2016

I’ve had  a few people contact me recently because they either want to voluntarily relinquish their parental rights, or they want to terminate the parental rights of an absent father.  Trust me, I’m not picking on fathers but I’ve had the same question 3 times in the past 2 weeks and they all just happened to concern absent fathers.

First of all, the Courts in Virginia will not let anyone voluntarily relinquish parental rights.  If both parents agree that the father won’t be involved in the child’s life, and the mother is able to properly provide for the child, there is no reason to have the court involvement at all.  Just do it.  Most people agree that it is better for a child to have both parents involved in their life, but it is still a personal decision.

However, if the parents think that they can get rid of a father who can not afford to pay child support and then apply for TANF to support the child, that won’t happen.  And while the Courts themselves can terminate parental rights when a parent has been proven to be unfit, you can’t request that the Courts do so just because a parent has not been involved in the child’s life, and/or is unable to provide financial support.

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.

Can I terminate my child’s father’s parental rights?

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

I get this question fairly often.  It is usually from a mother who also says that the father has no contact with the child at all and he hasn’t paid any child support.  Often, there is a comment that the father is in jail for some reason or another, and perhaps there is an order of protection for both the mother and child to keep the father away.

I’m not entirely sure why they want the father’s parental rights terminated.  If the father is not in the picture at all, then he is not a problem to either the mother or the child.

If the mother wants to make sure that she is the only one making any decisions for the child, she can always file for full legal and physical custody with no visitation, or very limited, or only supervised visitation from the father allowed.  If the father is really as absent as the mother says, he is not likely to argue against her and it is likely that the court will award her full custody.  If the father is actually in the picture, but a detriment to the child, then the court may order only supervised or no visitation with the child.

If the father objects to the full custody being given to the mother, he can argue that in court and the court will make a determination based on the best interests of the child.  The Commonwealth of Virginia is interested in doing what is best for the child, not supporting one side in an argument between the parents.

Also, so long as the father is the legal father, the mother can be awarded child support which must be paid by the father.  If the father does not pay his court ordered child support, he might be put in jail for that failure.  Again, not really a problem for a mother who apparently does not even like her child’s father.

If the mother is married to someone who is not the child’s father and she wants to have her new husband adopt the child, a step-parent adoption process can be followed which will end up as a sort of termination of the father’s parental rights when the father agrees to the adoption, or if the adoption is approved without the father’s consent.

There is also the situation where the mother wants to terminate a father’s parental rights because the mother is receiving social services and they have told her that they will go to court to have the father ordered to repay the public funds as child support.  The mother wants to receive the funds, but she does not want the father to have to pay.   And yes, sometimes the father is living in the home with the mother and the children.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has determined that it is the obligation of both parents to provide for their children.

So the short answer to the question of whether you can terminate your child’s father’s parental rights is generally ‘no’.

If you have any questions about this or any other legal subject, please feel free to give us a call at 757-234-4650 or visit our website at http://www.BeaversLaw.com.