Relinquishing Parental Rights

Parental Rights and Child Support Attorneys in Ocean and Monmouth County

It is critical to note that the relinquishing of parental rights is not an avenue to avoiding legal responsibilities when it comes to child support.

Is it possible to voluntarily relinquish parental rights in New Jersey?Parents have the right under the law to make critical decisions in regards to their children’s health care, education, religion, visitation, and custody as well as inheritance of property. However, in some cases, a parent may choose to give up these rights, thus terminating their legal parental relationship with their child. It is critical to note that the relinquishing of parental rights is not an avenue to avoiding legal responsibilities when it comes to child support. The action must be agreed upon by both parents and approved and acknowledged by the family law court.

In short, when a parent decides to terminate their parental rights, that parent is voluntarily terminating the parent-child relationship and they give up their ability to make decisions for their child, such as educational, health care as well as many other important issues. Furthermore, that parent cannot talk to or see their child until the child turns 18 years of age. In addition, the child cannot inherit any property from their parent under state’s estate planning laws, unless that parent explicitly states such inheritance in a will.

Adoption and the Terminating of Parental Rights

It is common for parents to voluntarily terminate their parental rights in cases of adoption. When a parent gives up a baby or child for adoption, the biological parents must terminate their parental rights in order to transfer those rights and responsibilities to the adoptive parents. This is the only case in New Jersey where a parent can voluntarily relinquish parental rights under the law. However, there are many cases where parents enter into a verbal agreement that one parent will not be involved in the child’s life. Though common, this is not recognized by the law and is thus not enforceable under the law.

It is important to take into account that once parental rights are given up they are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to regain. Terminating your parental rights is a life-altering decision. You should give considerable thought to this choice before proceeding with the local court. New Jersey family court judges take these matters very seriously. Courts will make sure that the parent making the request fully understands the profound impact of their choice. Additionally, the court makes sure that the parent making the request isn’t trying to avoid certain obligations, such as paying child support.

Adoption and the Terminating of Parental RightsIn cases where the termination of parental rights leaves the child with no legal parents, then the child enters the state’s foster care program. In most circumstances, before the state can place a child in foster care, the state must file a petition under the Adoption and Safe Families Act. This act requires permanency planning for children placed in foster care, including family reunification. Furthermore, this act emphasizes the safety of each child in the foster care system.

In some circumstances, the state does not have to file a petition under the act. For example, the state can place a child directly into foster care if the parent(s) abandoned the child as an infant, the parent murdered one of their other children, or in cases where the parent committed a felony resulting in serious bodily harm to the child or another child in the family.

Alternatives to relinquishing parental rights

The relinquishing of parental rights is really a nuclear option. A different and effective option that can preserve your rights is putting in place a child custody agreement that gives you sole legal and physical custody. If your child’s other parent is adamant about not having parenting time at this time, this language can simply be included in the agreement. You can go to court to settle this matter or come to an agreement out of court (in writing). Whether or not you seek child support at that time is a matter you can discuss with a family law attorney.

This is often a better option because as your lives continue to grow and change, different situations and solutions may present themselves. In essence, as situations change you may change your mind and decide that you want to be or to have the other parent, in your child’s life after all. As long as you are putting the best interests of your child first, then you can have the reassurance that the solution you choose is the right one.

Consult a Monmouth Attorney today

At Peter J. Bronzino, Esq, our New Jersey family law attorneys are skilled in supporting families across Asbury Park, Wall, Manasquan, Neptune, Spring Lake, and surrounding towns as they undergo the process of negotiating custody agreements and parenting time schedules.

Our direct approach ensures that the best interests of the child and the rights of our parent clients are met in compatible ways.

To speak with our firm today regarding your shared custodial agreement, please call (732) 812-3102 today for a free and confidential consultation.