Home > Child Support & Family > Can a Parent Give Up His or Her Parental Rights?

Can a Parent Give Up His or Her Parental Rights?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 25 May 2017 |
 
Can A Parent Give Up His Or Her Parental Rights?

If another person is recognised as the ‘legal’ mother or father of the child this means that the biological or former mother or father of the child does not have legal responsibility for the child any more.

Here are some examples of situations in which a biological parent may not be the ‘legal’ parent of the child:

  • After an adoption order is made
  • After a surrogacy order is made
  • If a married woman is inseminated artificially or conceives a child by in vitro fertilisation after 31st July 1991 the father will be her husband, unless he did not consent to the treatment.
  • If a man was a sperm donor to a woman married to another man who consented to the insemination, and the child is born in England or Wales after 3rd April 1988 and insemination took place before 1st August 1991, the father will be the woman’s husband.

Adoption

When a child is adopted, the legal responsibility of the biological parents is transferred to the adoptive parents. Children can only be adopted if they are under 18 years old and have never been married, and the biological parents must consent to the adoption of their child. However, if the biological parents are seen to be unreasonably withholding consent, the requirement for their consent can be waived. Since April 2007 adoption and fostering agencies have been required to consider gay and lesbian couples as prospective adoptive parents.

Surrogacy

Once a surrogate mother has given birth to a child, the court can make a parental order that transfers the legal responsibility to the intended parents. Although there have been over 700 surrogacy cases in the UK since 1985, not all have worked out according to plan. Although surrogacy is legal in the UK, it is illegal to ‘pay’ a surrogate mother anything other than ‘reasonable expenses’ for the surrogacy.

Before the child is born, the intended parents have very few rights. Once the baby is born, the intended father’s name can go on the birth certificate (so giving the surrogate mother and the intended father equal legal rights over the child.) Six weeks after the birth, the intended parents are entitled to ask for a parental order that transfers the rights from the surrogate mother to them.

At the time of writing, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill is set to introduce new provisions in relation to parenting orders. At the moment, only heterosexual married couples are entitled to apply for these orders. The new law will allow same sex civil-partnership couples, unmarried couples and same sex couples not in a civil partnership the right to apply to the court for this type of order, although they must be in a long-term relationship.

Local Authorities & Court Orders

If a child is deemed to be at risk the local authority will investigate further and may take the child or children into care. In the first instance the local authority will try to resolve the issues without going to court but if after an attempt at resolution has failed, and it is considered that the child/children is still at risk it may apply to court to obtain a court order. The court must then decide whether or not a child is at risk. If so it may make a care or supervision order; if not it may make a residence order, a contact order, a specific issue order or a prohibited steps order.

Foster parents only have temporary rights over fostered children and do not have legal rights over them unless or until they decide to adopt them.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Harrison - Your Question:
Hi, my wife got pregnant during a short fling whilst on a break from a previous partner. By the time the child was born she was back with her partner. Her partners name went on the birth certificate (not the biological father). We have now been married for 2 years together for almost 4 years. I want to adopt the child and get the previous partners name removed from the birth certificate (he has no issues with this). The biological fathers location is unknown. Can I adopt and get the birth certificate changed? Does the biological father have responsibilities and will the courts try and find him?

Our Response:
Your wife will have to locate the father who is registered on the birth certificate to ask for permission. The biological father has no parental responsibility, as he is not registered. If the biological father knows he is the father, then he can contest this if he wishes to take the matter to court for a paternity test. At the same time please be aware both your wife and her ex-partner have committed paternity fraud by illegally registering the non-biological parent on the birth certificate. You can also see Family Lives link her with regareds to adoption here.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-May-17 @ 10:44 AM
Hi, my wife got pregnant during a short fling whilst on a break from a previous partner. By the time the child was born she was back with her partner. Her partners name went on the birth certificate (not the biological father). We have now been married for 2 years together for almost 4 years. I want to adopt the child and get the previous partners name removed from the birth certificate (he has no issues with this). The biological fathers location is unknown. Can i adopt and get the birth certificate changed? Does the biological father have responsibilities and will the courts try and find him?
Harrison - 25-May-17 @ 1:14 PM
Cata - Your Question:
I will have my baby in 2 months. Me and my partner are not together anymore and We decided that he will give up any rights. We are romanians and I don't know if the law is the same for everyone. We are residents here for 3 and a half years. I don't know what to do. I'm scared that he will take my baby away from me. Any advice????

Our Response:
If your partner is not registered on the birth certificate, then he will not have any parental responsibility rights, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 3-May-17 @ 10:21 AM
I will have my baby in 2 months. Me and my partner are not together anymore and We decided that he will give up any rights. We are romanians and I don't know if the law is the same for everyone. We are residents here for 3 and a half years. I don't know what to do. I'm scared that he will take my baby away from me. Any advice????
Cata - 2-May-17 @ 10:41 AM
sheryl - Your Question:
My adopted daughter lives with her Father and chooses not to have contact with me. Her father is now in a relationship and I would like to give my daughter the chance to have a complete family unit by releasing my parental rights to allow the partner to in effect become her Mum. Is this possible?

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether your ex's partner wants to take on this responsibility. However, you cannot withdraw your parental responsibility rights unless a court agrees it and/or your ex's new partner requests to adopt your child and you give consent.
ChildSupportLaws - 26-Apr-17 @ 12:49 PM
My adopted daughter lives with her Father and chooses not to have contact with me. Her father is now in a relationship and I would like to give my daughter the chance to havea complete family unit by releasing my parental rights to allow the partner to in effect become her Mum. Is this possible?
sheryl - 25-Apr-17 @ 5:44 PM
Delo88 - Your Question:
My ex had my son approx 7 yrs ago for which I have being paying csa direct from my wages ever since.I have reason to believe she is now in a stable relationship, as am I (which whom I have a child of my own with my partner).Do I either have to continue having csa taken from my wages if my ex's partner is financially helping them, also will csa take into account I have my own family to support?Thank you

Our Response:
Regardless of who your ex lives with, you will still be considered to be part-financially responsible for your child along with the mother until he leaves full-time education. However, if you are supporting other children, this will be taken into consideration. You may wish to check how much you should be paying via the CMS calculator here .
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Apr-17 @ 3:02 PM
Suzie - Your Question:
My son is 10" his dad has been in and out of his life, he hasn't seen him for 8 months, I have asked my sons dad to give up his paternal rights, his reply was do what I want to do, with the changes in the law to taking a child abroad for a holiday, I'm not sure what I have to do legally or were I start

Our Response:
You and your ex cannot officially waive his parental responsibility unless and agreement is made through court. However, it is a rare that a court will allow this, unless it is deemed necessary and it is seen to be in your child's best interests.
ChildSupportLaws - 24-Apr-17 @ 12:04 PM
My ex had my son approx 7 yrs ago for which I have being paying csa direct from my wages ever since. I have reason to believe she is now in a stable relationship, as am I (which whom I have a child of my own with my partner). Do I either have to continue having csa taken from my wages if my ex's partner is financially helping them, also will csa take into account I have my own family to support? Thank you
Delo88 - 23-Apr-17 @ 11:56 PM
My son is 10" his dad has been in and out of his life, he hasn't seen him for 8 months, I have asked my sons dad to give up his paternal rights,his reply was do what I want to do,with the changes in the law to taking a child abroad for a holiday,I'm not sure what I have to do legally or were I start
Suzie - 23-Apr-17 @ 7:10 PM
My children's dad hasn't seen them since 2011 they are now nearly 8 and theydon't remember him or want to see him. He also wants no contact with them soI want to know if he could sign his parental rights over to just me.
Rlm - 22-Apr-17 @ 3:37 PM
My son's biological father has got in touch. He wishes time give up his PR in return for no longer paying maintenance.We would be happy to accept this. Is this even doable in the United kingdom? Thanks
JDCH - 20-Mar-17 @ 11:41 PM
Victoria- Your Question:
My daughters biological father and I split before she was born however he came to register the birth with me and her surname is my maiden name and I've since married. My daughter spent the first 4 months of her life in hospital where he biological father visited her 3 times. He's had no contact with her since, I am now married to another man who is wanting to adopt her. I've had no support from her BF either financially, physically or emotionally. Where do I stand as he is now doubting her paternity as I've asked him to give his rights up.

Our Response:
Please see Family Lives link here which will tell you all you need to know.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Mar-17 @ 12:24 PM
MrsH - Your Question:
Hi my husband has a child from a previous relationship, the other woman wamt him to give up his parental rights and allow her to change the child last name if he does this does he still have to maintenance ?

Our Response:
Your husband cannot officially give up his parental responsibility. He will still be responsible to pay child maintenance regardless of whether he has anything to do with the child, sees his child and/or whether his ex changes his child's name.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Mar-17 @ 12:22 PM
My daughters biological father and I split before she was born however he came to register the birth with me and her surname is my maiden name and I've since married. My daughter spent the first 4 months of her life in hospital where he biological father visited her 3 times. He's had no contact with her since, I am now married to another man who is wanting to adopt her. I've had no support from her BF either financially, physically or emotionally. Where do I stand as he is now doubting her paternity as I've asked him to give his rights up.
Victoria - 15-Mar-17 @ 8:23 PM
hi my husband has a child from a previous relationship, the other woman wamt him to give up his parental rights and allow her to change the child last name if he does this does he still have to maintenance ?
MrsH - 15-Mar-17 @ 6:56 PM
Becky - Your Question:
Hi. My ex husband and I split 10 years ago and divorced. We have an 11 year old son who he had regular contact with up until him emigrating 2 years ago. Does he lose parental responsibility to his son? He is in contact via FaceTime but other than that my son has no contact with him. He has applied for citizenship in the country he lives in. My partner who lives with us would like to adopt my son and take responsibility for him and his future. Do I need permission from his father to do this? Or has he lost any parental rights because he has emigrated? Thankyou for your help

Our Response:
Your ex will not lose parental responsibility over the fact he lives abroad. If your partner wishes to adopt your son you would have to seek the consent of his father, or take the matter to court. However, if your ex has contact with his son and wishes to remain his father, it is unlikely a court would rule to let your current partner adopt your child. This can be considered where the father plays no part, or ever has in the child's life, but is less likely where the father still has some form of contact and is reluctant to hand over his parental responsibility. Please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 22-Feb-17 @ 3:01 PM
Hkbm - Your Question:
I have an unplanned baby with a girl I do not want any contact with her or the baby is there anyway I can waive my parental rights I am not on the birth certificate and don't pay maintenance or have contact please help

Our Response:
Your rights are dependent upon whether the mother of your child chooses to register your name as the child's father on the birth certificate. If she does, then you will have what is classed as Parental Responsibility, which means you will be given 'some' rights over your child. If your ex chooses not to register your name on the birth certificate, then you will have no rights over the welfare of your child. Therefore, if you do not wish to have contact etc with your child, you can request your ex does not register your name on the birth certificate. However, regardless of whether the mother registers your name or not on the birth certificate, the mother can still make a claim for child maintenance which, by law, you will be liable to pay until the child finishes full-time education.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Feb-17 @ 2:53 PM
I have an unplanned baby with a girl I do not want any contact with her or the baby is there anyway I can waive my parental rights I am not on the birth certificate and don't pay maintenance or have contact please help
Hkbm - 21-Feb-17 @ 11:25 AM
Hi. My ex husband and I split 10 years ago and divorced. We have an 11 year old son who he had regular contact with up until him emigrating 2 years ago. Does he lose parental responsibility to his son? He is in contact via FaceTime but other than that my son has no contact with him. He has applied for citizenship in the country he lives in. My partner who lives with us would like to adopt my son and take responsibility for him and his future. Do I need permission from his father to do this? Or has he lost any parental rights because he has emigrated? Thankyou for your help
Becky - 18-Feb-17 @ 5:22 PM
Jimmyd - Your Question:
If my ex won in court giving her full parental responsibilities do I still have to pay maintenance

Our Response:
Yes, you are still responsible for the financial upkeep for your child unless the court has stated otherwise.
ChildSupportLaws - 31-Jan-17 @ 11:46 AM
If my ex won in court giving her full parental responsibilities do I still have to pay maintenance
Jimmyd - 30-Jan-17 @ 2:33 PM
My ex husband and I separated 3 years ago and we have 50/50 custody of our daughters, 9 and 6. They announced today that Daddy get stressed and kicks and punches items around the house and thumps his own head in anger.This comes as no surprise as I left him over behavior like this.They say he only behaves like this when his current gf isn't present. I have no concerns over him being a threat to them but I don't want them witnessing such violent behaviour.How do I go about altering our agreement of custody which was done via the courts with our divorce?
K - 6-Jan-17 @ 12:05 AM
My daughters biological dad and I split up almost 2 years ago and since I got with my current partner he hasn't bothered with my daughter last time he seen her was July and he has given me twenty pounds in the whole of this year and not bought her anything she has needed. I have gave him so many chances to see her and he agrees then cancels we bumped in to him in July and my daughter didn't even know who he was because even when we were together when she was young he was barely around her. My daughter calls my fiancée daddy and has no idea about who her biological father is anytime we have seen him. My current partner spoke to him and he said to him "why should I pay towards the kid if your there and she's calling you daddy". Does anyone know if its possible to get my daughters parental responsibility terminated so he can just be out of our lives for good instead of jumping in and out of my daughters life when ever it suits him. He will want to know her when he's single but when he's in a relationship doesn't want to know as he has gone from squeezing an hour a month in his busy schedule to see her to seeing her twice a year. And I don't want him thinking he can do that to his own child.
Michelle - 31-Dec-16 @ 8:39 AM
My ex left last month, he smokes weed, is mentally unstable,he attempted suicide at the start of the year because of the responsibility of being a dad. He was incredibly abusive to both me and my son and isn't all that bothered by my son,I've done my complete best to try and get him to see my son, he hasn't messaged me back in a month other than to say "you are going through child maintenence, how low can you get" so just bothered about the fact he's going to loose money.the one time he did come over he was just talking about how he wanted to stab everyone. I'd really just like to know my chances of getting full parental custody. I don't think he is safe around my son, and I don't think he's a good influence smoking weed and abusing women and children.
Charl - 23-Dec-16 @ 6:10 PM
@Lisa ..if you feel it is in your children's best interests then you should stop your ex having overnight access until you can resolve the issue, especially if you know your ex is smacking your children.
HJo - 19-Dec-16 @ 2:29 PM
My husband and i separated 8 months ago and at first only allowed him contact with the children at my home. A few months ago i allowed them to have over night stays with their dad but in the last few weeks my 5 year ols son has been coming home with bruises, scratches, grazes on his body. Also when its time for them to go to their dads they become very upset as they dont want to go with him. My 5 year old came home today after an over night stay and said daddy horrible when i asked why he said daddy smack me because i couldnt get dressed. So should I stop contact and only allow supervised visits ? Any advice would be helpful thanks.
Lisa - 18-Dec-16 @ 10:36 PM
I have been battling depression for many years this yr it has got extremely bad where I will scream and shout to the husband and kids . The other day I did a impulse thing and tried to end things my Hubbie don't want me home untill I am better and getting support but I need to be home and prove to him I am willing to get help . I have also offered to sign all parental rights to our children so if I do anything silly he can throw me out and stop me seeing the kids . For me to do this I know I will sort myself out as I have way to much to loose I realise that now . Can I do this ? If yes how can I remove my right into just his
Unicorn - 19-Nov-16 @ 6:40 PM
jb - Your Question:
Have I left oz with my child 4YRS AGO I have full day to day care. Dad left 10 day before he was born seen him for 7 hour of his live up till he was 5.weeks old never seen him since.Did not ask permision as he did not want anything to do with him how do I get full custody in the uk someone told me I could get this because he has not seen him and he did not want anything to do with him

Our Response:
You would have to apply for a child arrangement order, please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 16-Nov-16 @ 12:41 PM
Have i left oz with my child 4YRS AGOi have full day to day care . Dad left 10 day before hewas born seen him for 7 hour of his live up till he was 5 .weeks old never seen him since .Did not ask permision as he did not want anything to do with him how do i get full custody in the uksomeone told me icould get this because he has not seen him and he did not want anything to do with him
jb - 15-Nov-16 @ 2:30 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the ChildSupportLaws website. Please read our Disclaimer.