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If the couple are married then both have equal parental rights. If the couple are not married many state courts will require paternity to be established even though the presumed father has signed the birth certificate. Full parental rights can only be terminated in two ways, both are done through court procedures. Either or both parents can file a Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights petition in state court in the city or county where they reside. The judge reviews the petition and sets a hearing date for the action. Whether or not full termination of rights is granted (meaning financial obligations as well as physical caregiving) is based upon what is in the best interest of the child. The second way is for the court to permanently terminate parental rights due to abuse and/or neglect of the minor child or children. A parent can simply turn over custody to the other parent without going to court, this however does not relieve the relinquishing parent of financial obligation to the child or children. Nor does it guarantee the custodial parent that the relinquishing parent cannot at any time pursue custodial, visitation and other parental rights to the child or children.

2006-08-24 12:01:03
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