Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Feb 8, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

When a father consents to the idea of giving up his parental rights to a child, he and the child’s mother need to visit a lawyer in order to ensure that all paperwork is correctly handled and that the termination of rights is legally valid. The details of parental rights termination vary, sometimes greatly, by state, and it’s absolutely essential that a lawyer assist you during this process.

 The Process of Terminating Parental Rights

While the details will be dictated by state law, the general process of terminating parental rights goes as follows.

  • The father must sign the termination document, which should be drawn up by a lawyer to ensure all legal angles are covered. The signature generally needs to be notarized and witnessed, and then the papers must be filed with the court.
  • The court will likely examine the case and decide whether or not the termination is appropriate. In most cases, a termination of parental rights is only allowed for the purpose of someone else adopting the child. However, if the father is consenting and/ or wants to take the action, and there is a good reason for it, a judge may be willing to go ahead with it. A lawyer can also help you with your reasoning for the court in this type of situation.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Why You Need a Lawyer

Having a lawyer is essential in cases where a father gives up his parental rights because most states require that the father provide informed consent in order to give up those rights. If he and the mother have legal representation, steps can be taken to ensure he does not later argue that he was not fully informed. In other words, if he changes his mind and says he did not know what he was doing, there will be clear evidence that he had a lawyer and that the lawyer assisted him in understanding his rights and making an informed decision on how to proceed.