Signing Away Parental Rights

child sitting on father's shoulders

Your ex is difficult to deal with and not allowing you to see your child. Can you voluntarily sign away your parental rights to be relieved of your child support obligation in New York?

The short answer is no.

There are many misconceptions about the ability to voluntarily terminate parental rights in New York. For the most part, if paternity of the child has been legally established, one parent cannot just opt to terminate their own rights and obligations to the child. Even if the parent is unwilling, unable to, or not allowed to see the child, they will still be financially responsible for the child’s care. This responsibility means that they will likely be on the hook for things like child support, childcare costs, and medical expenses.

Similarly, one parent cannot simply have the other parent’s rights terminated. A parent can ask the court for sole legal and physical custody of the child with no visitation by the other parent, but circumstances that warrant such a drastic arrangement are few and far between.

When Can a Parent Voluntarily Terminate Their Parental Rights?

The most common scenario where a parent can successfully voluntarily terminate their parental rights is where both parents agree to the termination of one parent’s rights, and there is another individual (like a stepparent) who is willing to adopt the child in place of the terminated parent.

What if Paternity Has Not Been Legally Established?

If paternity has not been legally established, the father has no rights or obligations to the child. However, the mother can petition the court to establish paternity even if the father does not want paternity to be established.

This article provides legal information, not legal advice. By reading this article, you have not created an attorney/client relationship with Bellrose Lloyd Law, PLLC. Each custody situation is fact-specific and unique, and a licensed attorney should be consulted to help you navigate these complex legal issues.