Paternity Waiver – What you should know
Every parent becomes liable in any way necessary for the protection of the children whether they are legitimate or illegitimate. Most of the time both parents have equal right once the parent in question he has become the legal they are assigned complete rights. In order to requlinquish his rights he needs to sign a paternity waiver. On his part he has the right for medically testing like the DNA Testing. If proven he is the father he can fill out a paternity waiver for his rights from any obligation to the child by all means. Paternity waiver may exist in this kind of situation. When we say paternity waiver, it is a form of agreement between the father and the court to release his paternal rights from any obligations and he releases his very emotional attachment to the child or in other words, it is the termination of his paternity rights. The relinquishing of paternity rights can be voluntary or involuntary. Normally, the changes may take place if there are testing proceedings and will inherit court order depending on the consensus between the parents or what kind of situations a father went through. Paternity waiver is the constant companion when we often hear the giving up of parental rights due to some consequences.
Paternity waiver contains the right for waiving and is basically a call when we talk about human freedom. But in the name of law, the waiving of paternal rights proceeds in the court and talk about the basis of relinquishing whether the father is deserving to waive his rights or not. Even when he is the biological father, there are things to consider before the court will grant the proposal of the father. Courts may terminate a parent’s rights regarding a child if it is determined that the parent is unfit
Since a father’s duty of supporting a child ends, the states generally allow him to waive his paternity rights voluntarily only when he is putting a child up for adoption. Mostly, it is happen when the father and mother is together out of wedlock. And it so happen that the mother finds her own partner in the figure of another man or any companion. The father may consider paternity waiver to release his liabilities implicitly by abandoning the child. This is most commonly done by the fathers of illegitimate children. And that, paternity waiver permanently relinquishes paternal legal rights to the child and ends the obligations to support the child. Paternity waiver serves as consent to the child’s adoption. Some states require a voluntary waiver from the child’s birth mother regardless of her marital status. However, law only requires a paternity waiver from the child’s birth father if he was married to the child’s mother at the time of the birth or if he has taken certain steps to protect his parental rights. The implications of paternity waiver requirements are broad and far-reaching. This issue can affirm if the father is incarcerated, for instance, or those with severe medical or psychological impairments, may be unable to care for his children for more than 15 months. Thus, the state would be required to seek termination of paternal rights.
There are two ways in getting waiver
Voluntary Paternity Waiver
Paternal rights may be terminated voluntarily with the written consent, particularly a paternity waiver, of a father who for good cause desires termination. Even if both parents are in agreement that paternity waiver should come into action, the Court must address whether the termination is occurring for good cause. “Good cause” is not defined in the statute, but has been applied in some cases.
In one case, a Supreme Court examined the purpose and intent of the statute to determine when good cause could be found in paternity waiver. The purpose of the statute is:
First, to enable the judicial system to legally remove a child from a destructive or unhealthy home environment without the consent of the natural parents
Second, to facilitate adoption procedures by providing a means by which existing parental rights may be voluntarily terminated
In light of these purposes, the Courts of Appeals have consistently ruled that a paternity waiver for reasons other than to facilitate adoption works a substantial detrimental effect on a child, who will be forced to look solely to his custodial parent to meet all of his needs.
The effect is that District Court Judges are extremely reluctant to affirm on paternity waiver and certainly not where the termination is not agreed upon by the custodial parent. It is also clear under the law that a non-custodial father cannot claim paternity waiver as being requested in order to remove the child from a destructive or unhealthy home environment, since the petitioning party is not custodial parent.
The likelihood of obtaining an order of paternity waiver is also reduced if the custodial father is provided public assistance through the county. Obviously, the county does not want to financially support children when a parent who has that obligation is available. Even a non-custodial parent’s lack of contact with a child and belief that the parent could not care for a child financially may insufficient to provide “good cause” for establishing paternity waiver.
Some courts do not allow sign paternity waiver. Meaning, some type of agreement between you and the other parent is meaningless to the court or to the child support enforcement agency.
In most cases signing over physical parental rights does not relieve the parent of their financial
obligation unless the other parent agrees. If however, the rights are being relinquished so the child can be adopted, the court will dismiss child support obligations.
Courts are concerned with the child’s welfare and nothing else. Whatever is in the best interest of the child, whether it is emotionally, physically, financially, is what will decide how the judge rules.
It is important to recognize that the reasons that may give rise to an involuntary termination of
parental rights may not apply to a parent who seeks to voluntary termination his/her parental rights. They certainly would not apply if the custodial parent did not agree to the termination. For example, the abandonment provision only applies to involuntary terminations of parental rights –not voluntary ones.
Here are the steps to legalize paternity waiver:
Look up the state law or statute that gives a natural father the right to establish paternity waiver. The statute can be found in the State Code or on a state’s legislative website. The exact laws vary depending on which state the child and parents reside in.
Have good cause. Good cause is a legal term meaning that you have a good reason for establishing paternity waiver. Most states will consider paternity waiver to facilitate an adoption as a good cause. There are very few other good reasons to give up a child. A state statute may have a list of what the courts have considered good cause in the past. Stay within the good cause guidelines.
Draw up a written consent document that relinquishes your rights. Call a family law attorney for help drafting the paternity waiver or visit the clerk at your local county courthouse for preprinted documents and guidelines.
Paternity waiver may also achieved involuntarily. To terminate these rights involuntarily, the moving party must demonstrate that the natural father or parents have abandoned the child.
Abandonment is demonstrated by showing that the father has, by conduct continuing for a period of at least six months, either evidenced a settled purpose for relinquishing parental claim to a child, or has refused or failed to perform parental duties. A petition for paternity may be filed by either parent, an agency supervised by the Department of Public Welfare and providing adoption services, or an individual having custody or standing in loco parents to the child.
Note: As a general rule, courts are reluctant to sign paternity waivers when one parent feels that another parent is unfit. Even if one parent has lots of flaws, courts are hesitant to simply relieve a parent of his duties to properly raise the child and pay for the child’s expenses.
It is extremely difficult to waive paternity, and courts will do so only in rare circumstances .The parent-child relationship is a fundamental right of all persons. As a result, the burden of proof necessary to waive paternity is quite high. Parental rights may only be terminated involuntarily if it is shown by clear and convincing evidence that one of the following apply:
Abandonment. Abandonment takes place where there is an intention to forsake the duties of parenthood. The Court may infer this intention when a father fails to visit a child, refuses to accept responsibility for the child, and a fails to provide financial or emotional support to the child.
• Failure to Provide Parental Support. Rights may be terminated when there is clear and
convincing evidence that a parent has substantially and repeatedly neglected to comply with the duties of a parent such as the duty to provide necessary food, clothing, shelter, education, and other care necessary for the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health and development. This only applies if the father has failed to provide support without good cause. In other words, paternity rights cannot be terminated if the father is physically and financially unable to provide support
• Failure to Provide Financial Support. Rights may be terminated when a parent has been ordered to pay child support or to financially aid in the child’s birth and has continuously failed to do so despite having the financial ability to do so.
• Unfit Parents. A father that is unfit may have paternity rights terminated if it can be shown that the parent has demonstrated a consistent pattern of specific conduct before the child or of specific conditions directly relating to the parent and child relationship which renders that parent unable, for the reasonably foreseeable future, to care appropriately for the ongoing physical, mental, or emotional needs of the child. Significantly, there is also a presumption that a parent is unfit if his parental rights were terminated to another child in the past.
• Foster Care Placement & Continued Parental Problems. Parental rights may be terminated if a child has been placed in foster care because of issues that make a father unfit and following that placement reasonable efforts, under the direction of the court, have failed to correct the conditions which would allow the child to be reunited with the parent. Additionally, rights may be terminated for child neglect to the degree that the child is placed in foster care.
• Egregious Harm to Child. If a child has experienced egregious harm in the parent’s care, which indicates a lack of regard for the child’s well-being parental rights may be terminated.
• Conviction of Crimes. A parent’s conviction of certain crimes may also form a basis for the termination of that parent’s rights.
When making a paternity waiver decision, the court is to rely “not primarily on past history, but to a great extent upon the projected permanency of the father’s inability to care for his child.”
Abuse or Neglect
The most common situation in which a termination happens is in an abuse or neglect proceeding (not a divorce!). A father is determined to be such a danger to the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health that the father is completely removed from the situation and the child’s life with no further contact permitted. Even in these kinds of cases, it is considered an extreme measure and is one that takes the court system months or years to arrive at after every other alternative is tried first.
When a father’s rights are terminated in an abuse or neglect situation, the child is placed in foster care with adoption as a goal (at least for younger children). When a father who is divorced and remarried wants his or her new spouse to adopt the child, a stepparent adoption must take place. However, this can only happen if the other natural parent consents to the adoption by voluntary termination of parental rights, or has his or her rights terminated by the court.
A termination in this situation, when it is warranted, is often a good thing for the child. The child is adopted by a loving and involved stepparent who fills those parental shoes in the child’s life.
unfortunately, it is often asked about termination of parental rights in other situations. This fall into two general categories: fathers who don’t want to pay any more child support and wants to relinquish his rights to get out of it; and mothers who want to find a way to terminate the father’s rights to get him out of her life.
Trying To Avoid Child Support
Both of these situations are deeply disturbing. It is appalling that a man would be willing to break all ties with his child and in effect say ‘I no longer want to be part of your life’ just to save some bucks. The damage that is caused by this act is irreparable. The child is clearly told he is not important and does not matter – and that money is of more importance than him. It is disgraceful and appalling. Even if a man has previously had little contact with the child, this legal maneuver still sets the child up very clearly as someone who is not wanted.
Inability To Get Along With The Other Parent
The other situation is just as disturbing. There are lots of people who have very difficult relationships with their exes. And of course, there are women who have been placed in great danger by a man and want no contact. However, if a court has decided that it is appropriate for that child to have a relationship with that father, the mother must put her personal feelings aside and find a way to make it happen. Yes, it can be a pain sometimes to deal with his BS. Yes, visitation can be an inconvenience.
However, to seek to terminate a father’s relationship with his child just because you don’t like him or don’t want to have to navigate the situation any more is inexcusable. Even if that man fails to exercise his visitation, he still is connected to that child and there is a chance that someday he will come to his senses and reestablish a connection. A woman who proactively seeks to remove the father from the child’s life without a good reason is creating a trauma for her own child. The child may one day as an adult feel that this choice was harmful.
Paternity waiver, may disclosed any responsibilities but you must remember as a parent that there is nothing best than facing the real obligation to your family.