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Lawyers Explain Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights

Queens attorneys clear the way for your child’s adoption

The voluntary termination of parental rights commonly occurs when biological parents are cooperating in the adoption of their child. In New York State, however, a parent cannot relinquish parental rights without a good reason or an arrangement in place for another person to assume the parenting responsibilities. Children older than 14 have a voice in their adoption plan in New York, even in the case of stepparent adoption. Courts also give a teenager the option of maintaining a connection with the biological parents after they have voluntarily terminated their parental rights. If you seek a voluntary termination of your parental rights, our attorneys advise you about the process and the requirements.

How do I voluntarily terminate parenting rights in New York?

The only circumstances under which you may voluntarily give up your parental rights is if the court has decided that it is in the best interest of the children that they be placed for adoption. The surrender of your parental rights is a permanent decision that cannot be reversed. This is an issue to discuss and consider carefully with your family law attorney.

Reasons for voluntary termination of parental rights

The most common situations in which there’s a voluntary termination of parental rights include:

  • Stepparent adoption — This is by far the most common impetus for the voluntary termination of parental rights. In this case, a parent gives up his or her parental rights so they can be assumed by a stepparent. Focusing on the best interests of the child, courts in New York State must be convinced that the stepparent will fulfill the responsibilities of parenthood.
  • Adoption by a non-relative — This often takes place when an adoptive family assumes the parental rights from the birth parents. The court’s primary concern is whether the adoptive family will be good parents.

What happens after the adoption?

The voluntary termination of parental rights and subsequent adoption of the child do not relieve a parent of past financial responsibilities. Any outstanding child support must still be paid. The parent who has voluntarily terminated parental rights, however, no longer has any visitation rights.

Contact our parental rights attorneys to discuss a voluntary termination

The family law attorneys at Sager Gellerman Eisner Attorneys at Law guide you through the process of terminating parental rights. You can reach us through our online contact form or call us at 347.625.1038 for a consultation. From our offices in Queens and Forest Hills, we serve clients in Nassau and Queens Counties and the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.