How Can a Parent Relinquish Custody of Their Child?

It’s a question that many people ask themselves, and sometimes they’re asking to end their custody and other times they’re asking in response to the termination of parental rights. When you evaluate the options for parents and how they can help their children get a better life, it’s clear that it’s very difficult or challenging for parents to end their legal and physical connection with their children. Even in the way of abandonment, most parents have to issue some extent or voluntary termination. 

Now the actual steps of relinquishing rights make it extraordinarily confusing. It is not as easy as walking into a police office an saying you don’t want your child. Texas takes abandonment seriously, and if you fail to leave your child with a qualified adult to care for them, there could be criminal consequences.

Contact a Houston family law attorney today if you need legal representation in a legal matter involving your children. 

Why Would A Parent Terminate Parental Rights?

They may see that they are unfit or that someone else can provide them with a better life. It is often not a simple decision. But oftentimes, it’s also not the parent’s decision. They may feel pressured by CPS to give custody of their child to another adult or that by surrendering custody, they would avoid CPS.

In the end, there are numerous reasons why a parent might terminate parental rights, but many people never move forward. The elements that play a role in surrendering custody and other parental rights are lifechanging. Deciding that someone else needs to take custody of your child does not always mean that you are terminating your parental rights. 

For example, a person dealing with substance abuse might temporarily give full custody to their former spouse while they pursue treatment. After completing treatment and having some sober time under their belt, they could put in a petition to change the custody and regain partial or full custody of their child. During the time that they didn’t have custody, they would still retain legal rights. 

You May Have to File a Lawsuit

You will likely need to get before a judge and give a good reason or giving up your rights, or for changing custody agreements. In the example above, the reason would have been the pursuit of getting sober. Now a judge will be involved in either termination of rights or changes in custody. 

Two parents can agree to custody changes and file the agreement with the Texas family court without meeting with a judge. However, that could make it more difficult later for the parent to get custody rights back. If it is on record that someone waived their custody rights and did not disclose that they had intended to recover rights later, then it may seem like abandonment. 

Voluntary Termination is Not Always Easy 

When you voluntarily give up your custody, you’re saying that you’re not going to see your children except in rare visitation circumstances. Custody often refers to physical custody, meaning the ability to see the child and have them live with you or residential custody. But, when a parent gives up legal custody, physical custody, and residential custody, they are terminating all parental rights. 

 In the simplest cases, the parents of the child would sign an affidavit of voluntary relinquishment, which would waiver that adult’s interest in the child entirely. Usually, judges will want to see this in hand with an adoption, where a member of the family or another adult is willing to adopt the child. If there is no adoption, then the child would go into the foster care system for adoption. 

Should Someone Seek to Terminate Rights Get Help from a Family Lawyer in Houston?

Any parent who wants to terminate their rights can do so. However, it’s usually not as easy as it may seem. Many people may believe they’ve voluntarily terminated their rights by abandoning their child with another adult and issuing their intent to not return. But the case in that is usually the adult has not pursued custody or rights over the child. 

Texas courts are also often on the side of keeping the children with their birth parents to sustain a household. When a parent wants to be free of their ties to their child or to give the child a better environment, then they may need help from a family lawyer. Talking to a family law attorney at Eddington Worley in Houston could be the first step in establishing new rights of the child, terminating your parental rights, and finally issuing a birth certificate indicative of the lack of rights.