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Can a Parent Give Up His or Her Parental Rights?

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 27 Aug 2016 |
 
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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Hi I was wondering if you could help im the mother of a very troubled 16 year old who is in the local authority care for over a year now, and I was wondering since I haven't signed any paperwork for her to go in their could I give up my parental rights to her
Sugarpuff6 - 27-Aug-16 @ 9:19 AM
Elvis - Your Question:
I have a daughter with my ex partner. I am now married with a child but daughter from my ex is refusing to see me and my ex is encouraging this. I would like to know if I can sign my parental rights over to the mother and also if I do will I still have to pay child mantainence. Thanks

Our Response:
I'm sorry to hear the relationship with your daughter has broken down. However, regardless of whether you see your child or not, you are still legally responsible to help towards her day-to-day care through the payment of child maintenance. You cannot 'sign away' parental rights, a court of law would have to decide this. However, it is very rare that a judge will allow the signing away of parental responsibility unless absolutely necessary. The court will always decide what is in the child's best interests and allowing a father to sign away PR and stop paying child maintenance will never be considered.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-Aug-16 @ 11:17 AM
I have a daughter with my ex partner. I am now married with a child but daughter from my ex is refusing to see me and my ex is encouraging this. I would like to know if I can sign my parental rights over to the mother and also if I do will I still have to pay child mantainence. Thanks
Elvis - 24-Aug-16 @ 5:05 PM
My eldest son's behaviour has become so unreasonable and aggressive that I am afraid to have him in the house around me and my younger children. Is there anything I can do to force his father (my ex husband) to take full custody?
Woo - 21-Aug-16 @ 2:32 PM
jen - Your Question:
My babys father isn't interested in being a dad. He doesn't want to pay maintenance and I would rather not have anything from him anyway. Is there a wayby either agreement or through solicitors he can give up any legal rights he has by being her biological dad if he were ever to put his name on the birth certificate. He has only ever seen her once.

Our Response:
If your child's father is not on the birth certificate, then he currently has no legal rights to your child. However, as the biological father there is nothing that could or would stop him applying for access if he changed his mind somewhere along the line. Whether the access would be awarded through the courts cannot be speculated upon.
ChildSupportLaws - 17-Aug-16 @ 1:49 PM
My babys father isn't interested in being a dad. He doesn't want to pay maintenance and I would rather not have anything from him anyway. Is there a wayby either agreement or through solicitors he can give up any legal rights he has by being her biological dad if he were ever to put his name on the birth certificate. He has only ever seen her once.
jen - 17-Aug-16 @ 3:03 AM
Steph - Your Question:
My sister said she no longer wished to have her daughter in December 2014 due to her behaviour. she kept her eldest sister and within 10 months had another child. My niece, who is in the care of me and my husband wishes for us to adopt her, her mother does not communicate well with either of us, will not agree to mediation, refuses to give us PR and will not let my niece change her name. she is now 11 and of a mature age to request this. my sister has told us not to contact her, and also said the same to my niece. will it be difficult for us to adopt her in the UK? we need some rights over her as we cannot live by her mothers rules and lack of response for ever. her mother has not paid for her since 2014, she has nothing to do with her through her own choice. my niece does not see her sisters as her mother wont allow It. her father hasn't been involved since she was a baby. we want her to be a part of our family, and feel secure. How do we do this. Social are not much help and are all for her mother.

Our Response:
You would have to seek legal advice regarding this matter. If you are a close relative of the child, you can apply to the court for a child arrangement order, special guardianship or to adopt your niece. The courts will make a decision based on Cafcass reports and whether it feels it will be in her best interests.
ChildSupportLaws - 28-Jul-16 @ 11:15 AM
My sister said she no longer wished to have her daughter in December 2014 due to her behaviour. she kept her eldest sister and within 10 months had another child. My niece, who is in the care of me and my husband wishes for us to adopt her, her mother does not communicate well with either of us, will not agree to mediation, refuses to give us PR and will not let my niece change her name. she is now 11 and of a mature age to request this. my sister has told us not to contact her, and also said the same to my niece. will it be difficult for us to adopt her in the UK? we need some rights over her as we cannot live by her mothers rules and lack of response for ever. her mother has not paid for her since 2014, she has nothing to do with her through her own choice. my niece does not see her sisters as her mother wont allow It. her father hasn't been involved since she was a baby. we want her to be a part of our family, and feel secure. How do we do this. Social are not much help and are all for her mother.
Steph - 27-Jul-16 @ 12:36 PM
Can I hand over parental responsible to my child's grandparents??
stressed - 17-Jul-16 @ 11:49 PM
My soon to be ex husband has not seen our daughter for 3 months before that it was when he felt like it he doesn't care about her welfare at all how do I go about getting full custody ?
Munkies - 26-Jun-16 @ 5:33 PM
Kal140 - Your Question:
Hello my ex husband has agreed to terminate his rights to our 2 children as long as I pay and sort everything out but what paperwork/forms do I need to get in order and what is the process for this

Our Response:
You may wish to seek mediation regarding this, as any agreement can be drawn up and approved by the courts.
ChildSupportLaws - 14-Jun-16 @ 12:28 PM
Hello my ex husband has agreed to terminate his rights to our 2 children as long as I pay and sort everything out but what paperwork/forms do I need to get in order and what is the process for this
Kal140 - 13-Jun-16 @ 2:40 PM
sorry but i have tell you the hole story well the bits that my partner and her family have told me so you can understand why i need your help...... my partner had child with her ex. he used to abuse her in all kinds of ways. he literally broke her down mentally and phsyically. then she fell pregnant and lost the baby that literally sent him over the edge he. when she got home he beat her and then went out and found some random man and beat him. he got 9 months. whilst he was in prison he made her come to visit and sent his friends to check up on her to makesure she wasnt with any other men. when he got out the abuse continued she was too scared to leave him. she the fell pregnant 6 months after that the abuse died down and it only happend when he drunk. then after baby was born(the little angle i want to adopt) he then attacked my partner for some unknown reason he came one night after he been cheating on here drag her out of bed out the front door then pushed her down the stairs outside their flat. then locked her out half naked with the 2month old still inside. she went for help and got a spare key when she finally got inside baby was crying she got baby then slammed the door into them both injuring baby and my partner. she then went hospital baby was fine just a few bruises she was alot worse off. social services got involved and told her if she stayed with him they would take baby from her. so she finally got the courage to leave and went to stay with family so he couldnt find her. couple months later he went to prison for all most beating beating a man to death. he served 3 years out his 6year sentence. but before all that he has been in and out prison since the age of 15 he is now 29 that just shows what sort of man he is. then i met her when the baby just turned 1. she was still in contact with him she moved back to peterborough and somebody spotted her going into her new house so started harrasing her again making her go to visits with the baby. she didnt want to but she had to keep him sweet because he said he would send somebody round her house. she didnt tell me how bad things with her till i put a landline she gave him the number because he said wantedhis to talk daugher and see how she was doing. which we know was lie he just wanted to make sure she was at home when his mate went to check. she didnt tell me until i found one of the letters then she told me everything . then somebody spotted us togetherh he then threathend to us all saying he didnt black man around his daughter(she is white). i then told her to stop all contact with him called the prison and got it blocked his contact with him then he moved prison then it started again. now the baby is no longer a baby he had not seen her for 2 1/2 years she was 4.he gets out april 20th 2015 after doing his 3 years and me and him have words he realised im not the sort of person that he can intimidate. hes quite big man all he has been doing is going to the gym but so have i so he
mr4tune - 29-May-16 @ 7:34 AM
Needhelp - Your Question:
My partner is paying cms for a child he did not want. Although he takes the responsibility financially and doesn't object. He wants to relinquish his parental rights to the child. As he does not want to be apart of its life. She is constantly harrowing friends and family members and myself with photos and messaging on social media. He will still pay her for the child's care but does not want to be apart of its life. He is also not named on the Borth certificate. So can he relinquish?

Our Response:
This question has been replied to on one of our other sites you have posted on.
ChildSupportLaws - 25-May-16 @ 11:38 AM
My partner is paying cms for a child he did not want. Although he takes the responsibility financially and doesn't object. He wants to relinquish his parental rights to the child. As he does not want to be apart of its life. She is constantly harrowing friends and family members and myself with photos and messaging on social media. He will still pay her for the child's care but does not want to be apart of its life. He is also not named on the Borth certificate.So can he relinquish?
Needhelp - 24-May-16 @ 3:26 PM
Hi, My daughter's father is due to go to court for assault by beating (he assaulted me) end of May as he pleaded not guilty despite of evidences. He is not allowed to come near us nor contact me wether directly or indirectly until court. He's now claiming on social media that he will be leaving the country for good to go live in Switzerland in a month time. He's never supported our child financially and has been more out of our lives than in, all he did was say he loves and wants her but showed the opposite and hasn't attempted to have contact with her at all by going to a solicitor. We've never been married but our child has his last name and he's on her birth certificate. Which obviously makes me wonder how it's gonna be for me from now on like the simple thing as going on holiday with her if every time I need a letter from him allowing me to do so and all the impressive amounts of paperwork needed to show I haven't kidnapped a child. And obviously him not living in the same country soon it'll just be chaotic and rather impossible to sort this all out, would be easier if he would renounce his parental rights so I could change my daughter's last name to mine and be able to do everything a family should be able to do. Any advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated.
S. - 18-Apr-16 @ 9:46 PM
Hi, My daughter's father is due to go to court for assault by beating (he assaulted me) end of May as he pleaded not guilty despite of evidences. He is not allowed to come near us nor contact me wether directly or indirectly until court. He's now claiming on social media that he will be leaving the country for good to go live in Switzerland in a month time. He's never supported our child financially and has been more out of our lives than in, all he did was say he loves and wants her but showed the opposite and hasn't attempted to have contact with her at all by going to a solicitor. We've never been married but our child has his last name and he's on her birth certificate. Which obviously makes me wonder how it's gonna be for me from now on like the simple thing as going on holiday with her if every time I need a letter from him allowing me to do so and all the impressive amounts of paperwork needed to show I haven't kidnapped a child. And obviously him not living in the same country soon it'll just be chaotic and rather impossible to sort this all out, would be easier if he would renounce his parental rights so I could change my daughter's last name to mine and be able to do everything a family should be able to do. Any advice on the matter would be greatly appreciated.
S. - 18-Apr-16 @ 8:40 PM
L.Johnson - Your Question:
I have 2 children but my 2 year old is with my ex-partner. This guy does not have any interest in my son at all! My son is asthmatic and every time he has been in hospital it is me who is by his side, even my childminder has notice that everything and I mean everything falls to me. I recently asked him to take the day off work to be with our son as I was scared he would end up in hospital. My sons dad rang the childminder and point blank refuse to collect him, later on that night my son was in hospital due to his asthma and breathing. I have now had enough and want him to sign away all rights to my son, he has no care for his health has not seen his son in over a month and this is not the first time. He's even just gone on holiday which isn't really shocking to me as everything and anything comes before his son and even his older child as well. I am at my wits end if someone could advise me in some way that would be great

Our Response:
You cannot force a parent to sign away their parental repsonsibility and it is very rare a court will also. Unfortunately, not all parents are conscientious therefore perhaps you could suggest mediation in order for you to try and resolve the issue. Please see link here.
ChildSupportLaws - 13-Apr-16 @ 12:16 PM
I have 2 children but my 2 year old is with my ex-partner. This guy does not have any interest in my son at all! My son is asthmatic and every time he has been in hospital it is me who is by his side, even my childminder has notice that everything and i mean everything falls to me. I recently asked him to take the day off work to be with our son as i was scared he would end up in hospital. My sons dad rang the childminder and point blank refuse to collect him, later on that night my son was in hospital due to his asthma and breathing. I have now had enough and want him to sign away all rights to my son, he has no care for his health has not seen his son in over a month and this is not the first time. He's even just gone on holiday which isn't really shocking to me as everything and anything comes before his son and even his older child as well. I am at my wits end if someone could advise me in some way that would be great
L.Johnson - 12-Apr-16 @ 2:43 PM
Hadenough - Your Question:
I have two daughters with my abusive ex ( both under 8 ) the youngest was born at 27 weeks and was incredibly sick for a long time, as was I as I have several pre-existing medical conditions. She was born so early because my ex raped and beat me. As a result, I had a massive mental breakdown which later resulted in me being diagnosed as having Aspergers syndrome and temporarily lost custody of the children. Recovered now and seeking the return of my girls ( they were placed in foster care as my ex wouldn't consider helping despite living alone in a 3 bed flat) Just received a letter from CSA stating that my ex continued to pay maintenance but I was in such a bad way, I was incapable of managing my finances and they are now asking for £3000 right now in a lump sum or they will consider other options to recover the money. I have no money, too sick to work and no items of any value as my ex was a drinker and sold/stole much of what we owned. Where do I go from here?

Our Response:
First of all, the best approach is not to ignore this and to contact the CSA directly and let it know your financial situation. It may need proof that you cannot pay the money back currently because of your situation and the CSA may either arrange a payment plan, or if you are on benefits take these into consideration when trying to collect the money.
ChildSupportLaws - 31-Mar-16 @ 11:17 AM
I have two daughters with my abusive ex ( both under 8 ) the youngest was born at 27 weeks and was incredibly sick for a long time, as was I as I have several pre-existing medical conditions. She was born so early because my ex raped and beat me. As a result, I had a massive mental breakdown which later resulted in me being diagnosed as having Aspergers syndrome and temporarily lost custody of the children. Recovered now and seeking the return of my girls ( they were placed in foster care as my ex wouldn't consider helping despite living alone in a 3 bed flat) Just received a letter from CSA stating that my ex continued to pay maintenance but I was in such a bad way, I was incapable of managing my finances and they are now asking for £3000 right now in a lump sum or they will consider other options to recover the money. I have no money, too sick to work and no items of any value as my ex was a drinker and sold/stole much of what we owned. Where do I go from here?
Hadenough - 30-Mar-16 @ 3:45 AM
Jm86 - Your Question:
I have two children aged 12 and 9. Their father left when our youngest was a few months old and hasn't seen them much since, my children are now at an age where they don't want to see him. He lies to children maintence so he has to pay the bare minimum. Is there anyway I can get him to give up parental responsibilities and have him out of our lives for good???

Our Response:
It is rare that the courts will absolve a parent of PR, unless absolutely necessary. You would have to have a very good reason - but wanting him out of your life because you don't like him or he doesn't pay enough child maintenence, isn't reason enough.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Mar-16 @ 1:51 PM
I have two children aged 12 and 9.. Their father left when our youngest was a few months old and hasn't seen them much since, my children are now at an age where they don't want to see him.. He lies to children maintence so he has to pay the bare minimum... Is there anyway i can get him to give up parental responsibilities and have him out of our lives for good???
Jm86 - 3-Mar-16 @ 6:46 PM
nibs - Your Question:
Can a father who has walked out with child leaving half brother with mother who was mentally abused by father insist on supervised contact being with him there he also has been granted custody.

Our Response:
A court will always rule what it thinks is in the best interest of the child/children, so it can make a provision for any form of child arrangement whether supervised or not.
ChildSupportLaws - 15-Feb-16 @ 11:24 AM
Can a father who has walked out with child leaving half brother with mother who was mentally abused by father insist on supervised contact being with him there he also has been granted custody.
nibs - 14-Feb-16 @ 7:51 AM
If a child's father pursues his threat of relinquished parental rights for his children does he stop paying for them ie. Csa. Thank you
dee - 13-Feb-16 @ 11:25 AM
Hello My husband is on trial for anal rape as he raped my 7 year old girl he was the step father of my girls We have a child together and she is 2 now I would like to know were to go or how to apply for all the rights to be given to me as the child lives with me. And also I would like to apply for divorce but we were married in Romania and unfortunately I have lost the marriage certificate. I have lived in uk for 5 and my daughter has a British passport ( the child that I have with my husband) Thank you
Irina - 16-Dec-15 @ 9:43 AM
Nanatattyhead - Your Question:
My daughter has a beautiful two and a half year old daughter but the father was abusive and they split up. He was present for the both and registration but because of his behaviour and the fact he had another child that lives with his parents under a guidance order, my grand-daughter is on the social services register. What Iwould like to know is if my daughter can stop him having any parental rights. He's in and out of prison and doesn't see her and my daughter's current partner is thinking of adopting in the future. So although it's all a bit of a mess we were hoping there is an easy solution to get him out of and kept out of her life for good. I look forward to hearing what you think.Thank you

Our Response:
I'm afraid it is rare that a court will take parental responsibility away from a father unless in exceptional circumstances. Even if a father does not have anything to do with a child, or have PR, he can still request access through the courts. If a father re-enters a child's life and applies through the courts, the court has to consider whether or not this is in the child's best interests. The biological father would also have to agree to the adoption - please see Family Lives link here for more information regarding this topic and other options you can take. I hope this helps.
ChildSupportLaws - 8-Dec-15 @ 11:52 AM
My daughter has a beautiful two and a half year old daughter but the father was abusive and they split up. He was present for the both and registration but because of his behaviour and the fact he had another child that lives with his parents under a guidance order, my grand-daughter is on the social services register. What Iwould like to know is if my daughter can stop him having any parental rights. He's in and out of prison and doesn't see her and my daughter's current partner is thinking of adopting in the future. So although it's all a bit of a mess we were hoping there is an easy solution to get him out of and kept out of her life for good. I look forward to hearing what you think. Thank you
Nanatattyhead - 7-Dec-15 @ 1:36 PM
Gemna - Your Question:
I have a friend who has a child with a woman in the UK. He moved to a different country when they were still together. He was here for the birth and everythythibg. He sends money from where he is about £500 per month. She complain ns this is not enough, refuses to tell him how his son is doing. When he comes over to UK she doesn't allow him to see his son at all. She threatens that she will take him to court.for what I don't know. The boy will soon be two and she still stops his father having contact. She only contacts when she wants to talk about money. Does he have any way he can get to see his son when he visits.

Our Response:
He would have to take it to court to request access. Please see article: When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access, link here. The father has every right to apply for contact to see his child.
ChildSupportLaws - 4-Dec-15 @ 1:38 PM
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