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: 20 Mar 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.

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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
Jmonique - Your Question:
Iv recently been admitted to hospital with a life threatening illness and waiting to undergo surgery. I want to take the legal steps to ensure if anything was to happen to me during/after the surgery that my step mum will receive full custody of my 2 year old daughter. Her fathers name is on her birth certificate however hasn't been in contact with her for the last year and half. He does pay Maintance but is happy to give up parental responsibility? Please help?!

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this and hope it does not come to this. If you make a will, you can use it to appoint guardians of your children in the event that anything should happen to you before they reach the age of 18. Bear in mind that if you don't appoint a guardian and your children are left without a parent before they reach the age of 18, then the courts will appoint guardians. By making an appointment in your will you can take steps to help ensure that the people whom you choose and, possibly just as importantly whom your children would choose, are appointed as guardians. I hope this helps and we wish you every success with your treatment.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Nov-16 @ 1:01 PM
Tami - Your Question:
Hi I was wondering uf anyone could help me a friend want to give up her parent rights to her daughter how does she do this?

Our Response:
You don't say how your friend wishes to give up her parental rights, whether she wants to hand them over to the father, or put her child up for adoption. It is very rare for a court to revoke parental rights and it will usually only order this iff someone else is prepared to adopt the child. The court generally will not terminate a parent's rights if it would leave the child with only one parent responsible for the child's care and support. Your friend would have to take legal advice.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Nov-16 @ 12:27 PM
Iv recently been admitted to hospital with a life threatening illness and waiting to undergo surgery. I want to take the legal steps to ensure if anything was to happen to me during/after the surgery that my step mum will receive full custody of my 2 year old daughter. Her fathers name is on her birth certificate however hasn't been in contact with her for the last year and half. He does pay Maintance but is happy to give up parental responsibility? Please help?!
Jmonique - 13-Nov-16 @ 8:33 PM
Hi i was wondering uf anyone could help me a friend want to give up her parent rights to her daughter how does she do this?
Tami - 13-Nov-16 @ 6:16 PM
Thanks a lots for reply, appreciated your time and advice . Best of luck to your website . Debbie x
Melb - 21-Oct-16 @ 10:18 PM
Debbie- Your Question:
Hi , I got separated from my ex seven years ago and divorced 5 years ago a reason of violence. I have three children age 15,11 and 8 my ex never ever bothered to see the kids , my son was one when he left him now he doesn't know his dad at all. In mean time my ex was earning 30 000£ pr. When I applied for CSA he went on benifits.i refused that 5£ and I moved on , I got married and my kids love my partener they call him dad and he Is the dream dad for them he provides and loves them to bits, now my ex is jalouse he wants contact as he want to get bigger house on benifits he took me to court, I wrote letter explaining why I refused mediation, this man very abusive and I had Drs help for all those years and suffered depression , I was referred to victime support. This all happened 2012, I never thought he will take me to court one day as he never wanted the kids before. Please help me and advice me. Can I refuse the contact as kids don't want him at all. And I am happy for caffcasse to interview them.

Our Response:
We can't say whether the court will grant your ex access. Your older children will be able to specify a preference and Cafcass and the court will take this on board. If your younger child does not know him, then his opinions will also be taken into consideration and the court will decide upon what it thinks is in his best interests. Your ex would not be able to get a bigger house on the fact of access to your children, as the children would have to reside with him, for him to be able to do this. If your ex has had little to do with your children, if any access is granted it will be minimal to start.
ChildSupportLaws - 21-Oct-16 @ 2:13 PM
Hi , I got separated from my ex seven years ago and divorced 5 years ago a reason of violence. I have three children age 15,11 and 8 my ex never ever bothered to see the kids , my son was one when he left him now he doesn't know his dad at all. In mean time my ex was earning 30 000£ pr . When I applied for CSA he went on benifits .i refused that 5£and I moved on , I got married and my kids love my partener they call him dad and he Is the dream dad for them he provides and loves them to bits, now my ex is jalouse he wants contact as he want to get bigger house on benifits he took me to court, I wrote letter explaining why I refused mediation, this man very abusive and I had Drs help for all those years and suffered depression , I was referred to victime support.... This all happened 2012, I never thought he will take me to court one day as he never wanted the kids before. Please help me and advice me . Can I refuse the contact as kids don't want him at all. And I am happy for caffcasse to interview them.
Debbie - 21-Oct-16 @ 12:13 AM
Hi SNake70. I know it's hard for you all but it's more hard for him... Please it's hard age and they all react deffrent allways remember he is your son you live him,,, try to talk to him and show him what's wrong, I got kid same age started to go in wrong way but thank a god is turned to an angel doing much much better in life and excellent in school, it killed me but I was very tough. Please what ever you do do not kick him out that will make it worse with this horrible society cruel people out there , take him on holiday to one poor country show him how ungreatful they are here in uk. Please love him more . Take care of him less freedom . God be with you all the best
Melb - 20-Oct-16 @ 11:56 PM
canny - Your Question:
Please could I have a member of staff to contact me as I am after giving up my rights to my son to his mother as horribless as it sounds it's for he best

Our Response:
We do not have a contact service. We can only give general advice online via this site.
ChildSupportLaws - 20-Oct-16 @ 2:33 PM
Please could I have a member of staff to contact me as I am after giving up my rights to my son to his mother as horribless as it sounds it's for he best
canny - 19-Oct-16 @ 11:45 PM
Hi, I was wondering if you could help. My Husband and his ex gave up their rights to their son 7 years ago after my Husband fighting to keep him, but lost. Is there anyway now that we are Married that we can start visitation/getting in contact with him via his Foster Parents and possibly adopting him if all went to plan before he turns 16 years old?? Thanks
Deb - 13-Oct-16 @ 4:04 PM
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