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My sons mother wants to voluntarily terminate all her parental rights. Can she do this?

Cadillac, MI |

I have full physical custody and we have joint legal. There is no child support order. She is to pay 50% of medical. This order dates back to 2006 when he was 2. Now he's 9. We were never married, but I have been for over 7 years now. With regards to parenting time, we mutually adjusted the schedule to accommodate for schooling and our own families. He has been living with me this summer/fall. His mother wants to move away and start a new relationship with her boyfriend and her other son. We both mutually agree he is happier here and better off living with us. Can she waive her rights and completely sign him over to me?

Attorney Answers 5

  1. No. There is not enough here. If your spouse is willing to adopt, then there is a possibility.

  2. If you and the mother are in agreement, and can represent to the family court judge that it is in your child's best interests that you have sole physical and even sole legal custody, certainly a court will enter an order consistent with your agreement. However, termination of parental rights is something entirely different, as it will legally severe the child-parent relationship. If that is what you are talking about, the answer is "no," a parent cannot voluntarily relinquish parental rights under the circumstances you have described. As pointed out by Mr. Carter, if your spouse wishes to file a petition for step-parent adoption and the birth mother is willing to voluntarily relinquish parental rights, then yes, that can be accomplished. I hope this information is helpful to you.

    This comment is designed for general information only, and should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.

  3. The bio mom can consent to you having sole legal and physical custody, and if you marry and your wife wants to adopt your son, then bio mom can agree to terminate her parental rights in an action for stepparent adoption. Otherwise, she cannot terminate her rights. Only the state can act to do this, except in very rare situations, such as when a parent is convicted of sexually molesting their own child. I have done a lot of research in this area, and the rationale behind the refusal to allow parents to voluntarily terminate their rights is that it deprives the child of his right to support. Sadly, many a parent would volunteer to terminate their parental rights if it meant getting them off the hook on child support.

    If you think my answer best responds to your question, please mark it "best answer." Thank you.

  4. Any parent can legally waive his/her parental rights so long as he/she has the mental capacity to do so. This happens quite frequently in adoption cases.

  5. I recommend meeting with a few lawyers to see who is the best fit for your situation. The advice you have received from the lawyers on the site is sound.
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