My Child’s Father is Threatening to Terminate his Parental Rights, What Should I do?

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“My daughter’s dad and I had an argument over the holiday’s and I did not hear from him for a few weeks I finally called him to see what was going on and he said that he wanted me to file something so that he could sign off his rights I told him that I did not feel that this was in the best interest of our daughter and that even if we decided to do this he would still be required to pay child support and he said that he would not have to pay child support if he signed off his rights. This is not the only time that he has brought this up and it makes me very angry and upset for my daughter. I am not sure how this all works but I would not agree to this anyway because my daughter deserves both of us in her life but I feel that if he does not want her and is not willing to put our differences aside he might try to take matters into his own hands. What kind of information can you give me so that I can prove to him that this is not an option? And what exactly could he do if he took me to court to try and sign off his rights and not pay child support?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

You can relax and rest assured, it’s actually not possible for either of you to terminate his parental relationship – nor the responsibilities and rights that go along with it – even if you both agreed to do it. The only way that that his parental relationship can be terminated by agreement is if you remarry and your new husband wants to adopt your daughter, and your daughter’s father agrees. The general public policy is ensure that biological parents are both on the hook for their parental responsibilities, and able to avail themselves of their parental rights. Generally speaking, parents may not voluntarily excuse themselves from either.

That said, there is, as you correctly noted, a serious problem if he is asking to have his parental relationship terminated – and the message that your daughter is undoubtedly receiving from this is very sad and damaging indeed. You may want to consider asking the court to order your ex to attend counselling, both on his own, and with your daughter.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.

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