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Can the father relinquish parental rights in Texas?

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06/22/2013

Yes, a father can relinquish his parental rights. The process depends upon the state in which you / the child live. Most often, the terminating of the parental rights is handled by an attorney; however, your state might allow you to handle it on your own.

In the state of Texas, Chapter 161 of Title 5 of the Texas Family Code provides for a suit to terminate the parent-child relationship. The termination of parental rights is complete, final, and irrevocable. It divests forever the parent and child of all legal rights, privileges, duties, and powers between each other except for the child's right to inherit from the terminated parent. A suit for termination may even be filed before the birth of the child. If the suit for termination is filed before the birth of the child, a court may not conduct a hearing in the suit nor render an order other than a temporary order until the child is at least five days old.

However, one cannot ordinarily avoid responsibility to pay child support merely by voluntarily relinquishing parental rights. The court may not allow the petition.

Termination of Own Rights

A parent may file a suit for termination of his or her own parent-child relationship as provided by section 161.005 of the Family Code. Such a suit is rare and courts generally frown on this procedure. The court may order termination if termination is in the best interest of the child. In this scenario, custody may be turned over to the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.

The more common procedure to terminate a person's own rights is to execute an affidavit of voluntary relinquishment or an affidavit of waiver of interest in the child

Affidavit of Voluntary Relinquishment of Parental Rights

Section 161.103 of the Family Code also provides for the voluntary relinquishment of a parent's rights. Most typically, this is the procedure that is employed to terminate a parent's rights so that another person may adopt the child. One or both parents may use such procedure to terminate his or her rights to a child rather than present the matter for a trial in court. The voluntary termination of a parent's rights can be a very difficult and tricky process. If the parent attempts to revoke the affidavit, there may be problems in terminating that parent's rights. It is not uncommon for a biological parent to change his or her mind during the process. Texas laws, however, provide safeguards in the event a parent attempts to revoke the affidavit.

The requisites of the affidavit for voluntary relinquishment are very specific and must be adhered to. An affidavit for voluntary relinquishment of parental rights must be: (1) signed after the birth of the child, but not before 48 hours after the birth of the child, by the parent, whether or not a minor, whose parental rights are to be relinquished; (2) witnessed by two credible persons; and (3) verified before a person authorized to take oaths. The affidavit must contain: (1) the name, address, and age of the parent whose parental rights are being relinquished; (2) the name, age, and birth date of the child; (3) the names and addresses of the guardians of the person and estate of the child, if any; (4) a statement that the affiant is or is not presently obligated by court order to make payments for the support of the child; (5) a full description and statement of value of all property owned or possessed by the child; (6) an allegation that termination of the parent-child relationship is in the best interest of the child; (7) one of the following, as applicable: (A) the name and address of the other parent; (B) a statement that the parental rights of the other parent have been terminated by death or court order; or (C) a statement that the child has no presumed father and that an affidavit of status of the child has been executed; (8) a statement that the parent has been informed of parental rights and duties; (9) a statement that the relinquishment is revocable, that the relinquishment is irrevocable, or that the relinquishment is irrevocable for a stated period of time; (10) if the relinquishment is revocable, a statement in boldfaced type concerning the right of the parent signing the affidavit to revoke the relinquishment only if the revocation is made before the 11th day after the date the affidavit is executed; (11) if the relinquishment is revocable, the name and address of a person to whom the revocation is to be delivered; and (12) the designation of a prospective adoptive parent, the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, if the department has consented in writing to the designation, or a licensed child-placing agency to serve as managing conservator of the child and the address of the person or agency. The affidavit may contain a consent to the placement of the child for adoption by the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services or by a licensed child-placing agency. The relinquishment in an affidavit that designates the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services or a licensed child-placing agency to serve as the managing conservator is irrevocable.

Affidavit of Waiver of Interest in Child

Rather than sign an affidavit of voluntary relinquishment of a child, it is more typical for a man to sign an affidavit of wavier of interest in the child pursuant to Family Code section 161.106. A man may sign an affidavit disclaiming any interest in a child in any suit filed or to be filed affecting the parent-child relationship with respect to the child. The affidavit may be signed before the birth of the child.

The affidavit must be: (1) signed by the man, whether or not a minor; (2) witnessed by two credible persons; and (3) verified before a person authorized to take oaths. The affidavit may contain a statement that the affiant does not admit being the father of the child or having had a sexual relationship with the mother of the child. An affidavit of waiver of interest in a child may be used against the man in a suit in which the man attempts to establish an interest in the child. The affidavit may not be used in a suit brought by another person, licensed child-placing agency, or authorized agency to establish the affiant's paternity of the child.

A waiver in an affidavit that designates the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services or a licensed child-placing agency to serve as the managing conservator is irrevocable. A waiver in any other affidavit is revocable unless it expressly provides that it is irrevocable. A waiver in an affidavit that fails to state that the waiver is irrevocable is revocable only is such revocation is made on or before the 11th day after the affidavit was executed. Although there is some ambiguity in the statute as to the stated time period that an affidavit may be made expressly revocable, the safer practice is to assume that such waiver may only be made revocable for 11 days after the affidavit's execution. An affidavit that contains a waiver that is revocable must contain: (1) a statement in boldfaced type concerning the right of the person who executed the affidavit to revoke the affidavit only if the revocation is made before the 11th day after the date the affidavit is executed; and (2) the name and address of the person to whom the revocation is to be delivered. To revoke a waiver, the person who executed the affidavit must sign a statement witnessed by two credible persons and verified before a person authorized to take oaths. If a person attempting to revoke an affidavit has knowledge that a suit for termination of the parent-child relationship based on the person's waiver of interest in a child has been filed, the person shall file a copy of the revocation with the clerk of the court in which the termination is proceeding.

"§ 161.206. ORDER TERMINATING PARENTAL RIGHTS. (a) If the

Court finds by clear and convincing evidence grounds for

termination of the parent-child relationship, it shall render an

order terminating the parent-child relationship.

(b) Except as provided by Section 161.2061, an order

terminating the parent-child relationship divests the parent and

the child of all legal rights and duties with respect to each other,

except that the child retains the right to inherit from and through

the parent unless the court otherwise provides.

(c) Nothing in this chapter precludes or affects the rights

of a biological or adoptive maternal or paternal grandparent to

reasonable access under Chapter 153."

"an order terminating the parent-child relationship divests the parent and the child of all legal rights and duties with respect to each other,

except that the child retains the right to inherit from and through

the parent unless the court otherwise provides."

The Judge/Court who processes the Affidavit can impose specified stipulations i.e. paying child support, medical insurance and so forth, however the Law does not require continued child support payments upon approval of the Affidavit if approved without stipulations.