Options for Children When Parents Can’t Assume Financial or Legal Responsibility

Parents May Relinquish Custody Due to Financial Issues, Violence, or Neglect

Divorce Scenarios When Neither Parent Desires Custody in New JerseyChild custody is usually the most contentious part of a divorce agreement. Frequently, both parents jockey for legal and physical custody to make decisions about their child’s upbringing. Some parents, however, choose to give up custody of the child, relinquishing their parental rights. Financial hardship is why some parents feel they can no longer provide their child adequate food, shelter, and other basic needs. If there is a history of domestic violence, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or other dangerous behavior, the Family Court can refuse custody to the parent. In cases of child neglect or abuse, some parents are permanently denied custody. If the parents express a disinterest in raising the child, their parental rights can be terminated. Allowing a child to live in an environment of indifference or negativity can create a situation of child abuse or neglect. Parents who don’t live or interact with their child for extended periods, for reasons such as incarceration, may find it in the child’s best interests to be adopted by a more stable family.

Who Else can Provide Stability and Support for Children in New Jersey?

New Jersey allows biological relatives, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and close family friends, to take custody of children whose parents no longer want custody. The two options used the most are kinship legal guardianship and adoption. Both options provide a child with stability, safety, and consistency. They also allow the caregivers to make legal decisions for the child.

A child can only be adopted once the parental rights to the child have been extinguished. The parental rights are transferred to the adoptive parents. The child’s name can be legally changed, and they have the right to inherit or receive government benefits through their adoptive parents rather than their biological ones. The child may continue a relationship with their biological parents if their adoptive parents permit it.

Kinship legal guardianship means the biological parents have not given up their parental rights but no longer have custody of the child. It allows the guardian to make decisions for the child and receive state money to support some of the economic burdens of caring for a child. Kinship legal guardianship is preferable to foster care as the child is placed with relatives or a close family friend. It is different from adoption in that once the child turns 18, the guardianship is over. Although the parents don’t have custody of the child, they have visitation rights and are responsible for providing some financial support.

Impact of Guardian ad Litem Advocacy for Minors Whose Biological Parents Refuse Custody

A guardian ad litem (GAL) is a lawyer, social worker, mental health specialist, or others deemed appropriate, selected by the courts to represent the interests of a minor child. The court can appoint them to be in custody or visitation cases. A GAL is there to protect the minor’s interests and to help communicate the child’s wishes to the court. They are an objective, impartial representative for the child who holds the minor’s welfare above anyone else’s.

The GAL’s job is to provide the court with as much information as possible about the minor involved. As an independent investigator, the GAL interviews the child, their teachers, coaches, family members, therapists, doctors, and anyone else who could provide relevant information about the child. The GAL will turn in all the information gathered to the judge, along with any recommendations.

Steps Involved in Surrendering NJ Parental Rights

Surrendering your parental rights to the State is a process. The Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) must provide counseling services to any parent who wants to relinquish their parental rights permanently before allowing them to give up their rights. The parent fills out a Surrender of Parental Rights Form and hopefully provides a prospective couple for the adoption of their child, such as a close relative or family friend. The court and DCP&P then accept the voluntary surrender of parental rights, but only when it is deemed in the child’s best interests, such as in the case of adoption. For example, when relatives or friends have shown an interest in adoption, have been vetted by DCP&P, and are determined to be the best option for the child, the surrendering of parental rights is nearly always accepted.

Learn the Steps Involved in Surrendering NJ Parental Rights in Ocean County, NJExploring Parental Rights Relinquishment for Child Welfare

Many factors go into a custody case. Sometimes, the parents simply no longer want to be responsible for their child, but those cases are rare. More often than not, parents relinquish their rights because they cannot provide a safe and healthy environment for their children due to financial problems, substance abuse, or physical or mental health issues. By relinquishing their parental rights, they are allowing their child the opportunity to live a better life. The court sees any situation in the child’s best interests as the best course of action.

Discuss Parental Rights and Custody Matters with Experienced Southern New Jersey Family Lawyers

Perhaps you are unsure if you can continue to care for your child and are considering relinquishing your parental rights. This is a big decision, and you need a knowledgeable attorney to discuss the consequences and the possibilities for alternative solutions. Our seasoned family law attorneys at Bronzino Law Firm have the experience necessary to provide excellent representation in Middletown, Sea Bright, Colts Neck, Long Branch, Tinton Falls, Rumson, Point Pleasant, Freehold, and surrounding communities. Our lawyers can assess your situation and provide you with practical solutions. We can explain the advantages and disadvantages of custody options that are available to you. We know these decisions are never easy, and we will support you every step of the way.

If you are currently facing a custody issue, contact us today at (732) 812-3102 or contact us using our online contact form.