Can you voluntarily sign over your parental rights for a child you have never seen?

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Can you voluntarily sign over your parental rights for a child you have never seen?

I have a 12 year old child with someone who I only had a one night stand with. I didn’t even know it resulted in a child until she went after me for child support. I know it will be better for the child if I just stay out of the picture because it’s going to cause more damage if I try to go after her for visitation. So how can I voluntarily sign away my rights? The child and mother lives in one state; I currently live inanother.

Asked on October 8, 2012 under Family Law, Utah

Answers:

Anthony Van Johnson / VANJOHNSON LAW FIRM, L.L.C.

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

First, it would have been wise for you to file to establish paternity (paternity test) so you could be sure that the child is actually yours.  There are many cases with men who have been paying child support, only to discover to their dismay that they are not even the fathers of those children.  Second, since the child was born out of wedlock, you have no legal rights to the child unless you "legitimate" the child in the Superior Court.  Until a petition for legitimation is filed and heard in court, you have no legal rights (including visitation).  Third, you can voluntarily surrender your parental rights, but you will still be required to pay child support.  However, if the child's mother marries and her husband wants to adopt the child, then you could benefit from surrendering your parental rights as you would be relieved from future child support payments.


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