Can I give up my rights as a parent?

A question that is asked all too often is "can I give up my rights as a parent?" It is not unusual for a parent to want to give up their rights as a parent. Although this seems strange, there are people who do not have a relationship or bond with a child and wish to legally terminate the relationship. Sometimes there are people who simply want to "get out" of paying child support.

Today's question comes from a father in Winter Springs and is once again about this topic. They haven't seen their child since he was 6 months old. So how can he give up his parental rights?

The answer is a person can volunteer to terminate their parental rights only if the other parent is married and the step-parent agrees to adopt the child. In this situation, the biological parent consents to a step-parent adoption the child and the step-parent replaces the biological parent as the legal parent. The biological parent's rights (and responsibilities) terminate.

But it is key to know that a person cannot volunteer to give up their parental rights only to avoid paying child support. Adoptions in Florida are governed by Chapter 63 of the Florida Statutes. There are very few situations in which a person can agree to lose their parental rights but, in general, the most common way is a Step-Parent Adoption. Unless there is this limited situation, a parent is going to remain legally responsible for their child and they can't simply declare it to go away.