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Can I terminate my parental rights?

New York, NY |

I'm a father and wish to have nothing to do with my unborn child. Can I terminate my parental rights before he is born?

Why are women legally allowed to terminate their obligations by having an abortion without the fathers consent then? It seems to me that the law is not fair, why are all men standing by and allowing this inequity to exist? Why have no attorneys stood up to this and challenged these laws in Supreme Court?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Best answer


    You can have nothing to do with the child, but you can't unilaterally terminate your parental rights, especially if the mother or the Department of Social Services seeks child support, unless the child is formally adopted by an adoptive or step father (which is obviously up to the mother).

    You can have nothing to do with the child -- visitation or custody is optional, but child support is mandatory if the mother petitions for support until the child reaches 21 years of age.

    This answer is provided under the “Terms and Conditions of Use” (“ToU”), particularly ¶9 which states that any information provided is not intended as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship between you and me or any other attorney. Such information is intended for general informational purposes only and should be used only as a starting point for addressing your legal issues. In particular, my answers and those of others are not a substitute for an in-person or telephone consultation with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction about your specific legal issue, and you should not rely solely upon Legal Information you obtain from this website or other resources which may be linked to an answer for informational purposes. You understand that questions and answers or other postings to the Site are not confidential and are not subject to attorney-client privilege. The full Avvo ToU are set forth at . In addition, while similar legal principles often apply in many states, I am only licensed to practice in the State of New York and Federal Courts. Any general information I provide about non-New York laws should be checked with an attorney licensed to practice in your State. Lastly, New York State Court rules (22 NYCRR Part 1200, Rule 7.1) also require me to inform you that my answers and attorney profile posted on the site may be considered "attorney advertising" and that "prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome".

  2. You can certainly decide to not exercise any parental rights, but you will not be able to terminate any of your parental obligations to pay child support.

    I am not your attorney and any posts/messages or responses to posts/messages can not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon free legal advice and I disclaim any liability for the results if you do.

  3. Mr. Lebowitz and Mr. Siepmann are absolutely correct. The legal system, the courts, and the taxpayers to not allow parents to walk away from their obligation to support the children they bring into the world. By and by, if the day comes when the child's mother is married to a more responsible man who wishes to voluntarily adopt your child, you may wish to cooperate in the termination of your parental rights as part of that process.

    Regarding your complaint that a mother can terminate a pregnancy, but fathers are helpless, please consider this: you know exactly how pregnancy occurs, and you had two excellent opportunities to prevent this pregnancy-- abstaining, and protecting. You made choices that now have consequences. It is time to quit acting like the victim and figure out how you are going to support your child.

    Best wishes for an outcome you can accept, and please remember to designate a best answer.

    This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.

  4. In NY the woman has the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy. Once you have relationship with someone, then it is their choose to have the child or terminate the pregnancy. You do not have to do anythng with the child except pay child support, child care, Medical insurance, medical copayment, and possibly educational expenses. If the mother decides to have someone else adopt the child, then you can terminate your rights and let the other person adopt the child.

    If this answer is helpful, then please mark the helpful button. If this is the best answer, then please indicate it. Thanks. For further information you should see an attorney and discuss the matter completely. If you are in the New York City area, then you can reach me during normal business hours at 718 329 9500 or

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