Giving up a father's parental rights

children with father image by Marzanna Syncerz from

Many people wonder what is involved in giving up a father's parental rights. Any man can choose to give up his parental rights as long as another person, such as the child's mother or an adoptive guardian, is willing to take responsibility for the child.

By relinquishing parental rights, the father is usually relieved from any obligation to his biological child.


Biological fathers might choose to give up (relinquish) parental rights in a number of situations. For example, if a couple decides to place a baby for adoption, a court will first need to terminate the parental rights of both biological parents before an adoption can be finalised. If a woman remarries and wants her husband to adopt her child, the biological father might choose to relinquish his parental rights. Some fathers choose not to be involved in the lives of their children. By giving up parental rights, they can be absolved of responsibility for providing financial support for the children.


In most cases, when a father chooses to give up his parental rights, he is completely released from any obligation to care for his biological child. Under the eyes of the law, the biological father and child are not related. The child cannot inherit under the father's will as one of his children, while the father has no obligation whatsoever to care for the child.


A father's parental rights must always be terminated by a judge. A father can sign a paper stating his desire to give up his parental rights. A court can involuntarily terminate a father's parental rights, such as in the case of child abuse. Some states have a putative father registry in place. This presumes that an unmarried man consents to giving up his parental rights so the baby can be placed for adoption. That holds true unless the father registers with the state after having sex with a woman who is not his wife.

Time frame

If a father signs a document stating his desire to terminate his parental rights, then this will happen whenever he can get a court date before a judge.


Once a father has been relinquished from his parental responsibilities, he can no longer be held accountable by the Child Support Agency (CSA) to pay maintenance or financial support.