What are my rights in a child custody case? 14 Answers as of June 07, 2011

I live in another state and I dont see my kid and was never married to his father. How can I sign over my rights and does he have to agree?

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Vermeulen Law office P.A.
Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Cynthia J.Vermeulen
The laws of the state where the child lives determine your rights in a child custody case. You may have the option of agreeing to award custody to the child's father. If you are making this decision because of pressure from others or from the child's father, or due to domestic abuse, you should seriously consider the long-term consequences of your decision. In any event, consult with a family lawyer in the child's state of residence in order to obtain legal advice as soon as possible. Most attorneys provide a free initial consultation.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 6/7/2011
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
In Connecticut, you have to go through probate court to have your rights terminated. He doesn't have to agree but it might help if he did.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 6/3/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
You cannot "sign over your rights." A court may determine custody and parenting timne issues if a party files a motion to establish those rights.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 6/3/2011
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
You can't sign your rights over to a child. If your child's father has someone else who will adopt in your place (a new spouse, for example) then your parental rights can be terminated, but you can't simply waive your obligation to your child.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/3/2011
The Findling Law Firm, PLC
The Findling Law Firm, PLC | Daniel M Findling
The first step in evaluating a contested custody case in Michigan is determining if there is an established custodial environment with one parent or both parents. An established custodial environment is defined as: If over an appreciable time the child naturally looks to the custodian in that environment for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort. The age of the child, the physical environment, and the inclination of the custodian and the child as to permanency of the relationship shall also be considered. See. (MCLA 722.27(1). In simple terms, if the child has been living with one parent for a while, that parent will have an established custodial environment. As a general rule, courts are reluctant to remove a child from an established custodial environment. After determining if an established custodial environment exists, the courts will look at the best interest of the child(ren). The second step in evaluating a contested custody case in Michigan is to consider the best interest of the minor child. Michigan adopted the Child Custody Act to require courts to consider the "best interest of the child" in child custody disputes. The courts evaluate and sum the following factors when determining what is in the best interest of a child: (a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child; (b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give love, affection, guidance, and continuation of the educating and raising the child in its religion or creed, if any; (c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical and other remedial care; (d) The length of time the child has lived in a stabile, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity; (e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes; (f) The moral fitness of the parties involved; (g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved; (h) The home, school, and community record of the child; (i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference; (j) The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents; (k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child; (l) Any other factor considered by the court to be relevant to a particular child custody dispute. Thank you for the opportunity to assist you in this matter. If you require further assistance or would like to schedule a free confidential consultation, I have provided my contact information below. During the consultation we can discuss both the obligations and benefits associated with your case. I look forward to meeting you to discuss your goals.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/3/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Normally he would seek to terminate your parental rights.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/3/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    If you don't see your child, and you aren't interested in seeing your child, you needn't do anything. I don't understand why you want to sign over your rights to your child, and I can't tell what you mean by signing over your rights, but you aren't exercising any rights to your child, such as custody or visitation. Courts don't let parents become non-parents, i.e., Courts don't terminate parental rights of a parent, unless the child is adopted by a step-parent.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    You don't get out of your responsibilities to your child unless someone adopts the child. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    I don't see any benefit to signing over your rights, but you may financially benefit from terminating your parental rights to terminate your obligations. I don't believe you could do it without his consent and cooperation. You could force the issue if he did not cooperate by attempting to visit with your child and attempting to demonstrate love and concern for the child. Such an act on your part, may trigger an attempt to terminate your rights on the part of the child's father. Alternatively, it may result in a relationship with your child that you benefit from emotionally. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    Divorce laws are highly state specific. What goes in one state may not be acceptable in another. You may have a good case to recover the child. And if you "(S)ign away rights..." you may be obligated to pay child support. Please consult an attorney in your state as soon as possible.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    If he lives in IL he can simply file for custody of the child. Have him call the office and we will guide him through the process.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    The father does not have to "agree" for you to "sign over your rights", but technically you cannot sign over your parental rights to anyone. You don't say why you wish to relinquish your rights and apparently you have left the child in his care or the care of someone else; so, unless you are hoping to avoid a financial obligation to pay child support, it doesn't appear necessary for you to do anything. Once somebody comes after you for child support, you can expect to be required to pay and that is the reason you are not allowed to voluntarily give your rights (and obligations) except where someone else wants to adopt the child and assume the financial duty of support. If you were never married to the father and there has never been a judicial determination of paternity, he technically has no specific rights either. If he is the one with actual care & physical custody now, sooner or later he is going to have difficulty that can be avoided.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law (I'm assuming the father and child live in Washington), the court would have to determine what your rights are, such as by entering a parenting plan. If you don't want any rights, then the best thing is just to not have the court establish any. On the other hand, you may have responsibilities (such as support). To have the responsibilities terminated, someone else would probably have to adopt the child.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/2/2011
    Owings Law Firm
    Owings Law Firm | Tammy B. Gattis
    He has to agree. Most judges won't allow it unless there is someone to adopt and pick up your responsibility so not just another drain on state.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 6/2/2011
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