What Happens When a Father Gives Up Custody?
When a father gives up custody, he relinquishes any legal relationship he has with the child. Giving up your parental rights most likely means that you will no longer be involved in your child’s life. Once done, you will need to live with the consequences of your decision.
If you are considering giving up custody of your child, contact the child custody lawyers at MBH Fort Worth | Family Law before making any final decisions.
What is the Termination of Parental Rights?
When a father’s parental rights are terminated, it means that the parent and child will no longer have a legal relationship. If the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) chooses to terminate rights, they will normally do so for both parents.
Parental rights are terminated either by:
- Voluntary termination: the parent no longer wishes to continue the parent-child relationship
- Involuntary termination: a parent or the DFPS can petition the court to terminate the parent-child relationship
In either voluntary or involuntary termination, a court order must be issued in order to terminate the parent-child relationship.
Circumstances for Termination of Parental Rights
If a father decides to terminate the relationship with his child, he will be required to fill out an affidavit of voluntary relinquishment of parental rights. The father must wait 48 hours following the child’s birth before signing the affidavit.
The affidavit must contain the following information:
- The name, county of residence, and age of the parent whose parental rights are being relinquished;
- The name, age, and birth date of the child;
- The names and addresses of the child’s legal guardians;
- A statement that termination of the parent-child relationship is in the best interest of the child; and
- A statement that the parent is not obligated to pay child support.
Once the affidavit is signed, the decision cannot be taken back. The father will have relinquished all legal rights to his child permanently. Once this step is taken, the father will have no rights to visit or have access to their child. The father’s name will even be removed from the child’s birth certificate.
According to the Texas Family Code § 161.001, the court may decide to terminate a parent’s rights if they find that:
- The parent has abandoned the child with no intent to return;
- The parent knowingly endangered the child;
- The parent failed to provide adequate medical care or financial support to both the mother and the child;
- The parent voluntarily left the child in the care of another and left for a period of at least six months;
- The parent abused or neglected the child or another child;
- The parent was convicted of a felony involving sexual assault or violence against a child;
- The parent has failed to enroll their child in school;
- Termination is in the best interest of the child.
In most cases, DFPS is required to terminate parental rights if a child has been in foster care for 15 out of 22 months. Generally speaking, if DFPS feels that a parent is not providing a safe environment for a child, they will request the court to terminate the parent’s legal rights to the child.
The court must be presented with clear and convincing evidence in order to terminate a father’s relationship with his child. In Texas, the father bears the responsibility of demonstrating to the court that terminating his parental rights is best for his child.
Will the Father Still Have to Pay Child Support?
Avoiding child support is not sufficient grounds to end a parent-child relationship. Such requests are usually denied by a family law judge.
In cases where the father is relinquishing parental rights, he will bear the burden of convincing a judge that termination of the parent-child relationship is in the child’s best interest.
However, if parental rights are terminated, a parent’s obligations to a child come to an end. If the court issues such an order, then a father’s child support obligations will be discontinued.
Petitioning the court to terminate your custody rights is often not the best decision. You will want to speak with a Fort Worth child custody lawyer before taking any legal action.
A Custody Lawyer Serving Fort Worth, Southlake, Denton, & Nearby Cities in Texas
MBH Fort Worth | Family Law knows that any decision regarding your child’s welfare cannot be taken lightly. As your local custody lawyer, we have the best interest of your child in mind. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.