Having a child is a wonderful thing. Most parents cannot wait until their bundle of joy is born. This is not the case in all situations. Some children are conceived at a young age or by a tragedy. The case can be that the mother or father is just not ready for a child or the child is a victim of sexual assault and an abortion may not be an option for them, or maybe an abortion procedure was unsuccessful. The law provides other avenues. A mother or father of a child may ask the court to terminate his/her parental rights, or the other parent’s parental rights. Although it is generally very difficult, and obviously the court does not want a child to be without a father or mother, there are two documents that can help the court in terminating a parent-child relationship: an affidavit of relinquishment or an affidavit of waiver of interest in child. Generally, an adoptive parent must also be available and willing for a court to terminate a parent’s parental rights.
Affidavit of Relinquishment
The affidavit of relinquishment must be signed after the birth of the child, but not before 48 hours after the birth of the child, by the parent (whether or not the parent is over 18), whose parental rights are to be relinquished. The affidavit must be signed by two credible witnesses and notarized. Additionally, the affidavit must contain the following:
(1) the name, county of residence, and age of the parent whose parental rights are being relinquished;
(2) the name, age, and birth date of the child;
(3) the names and addresses of the guardians of the person and estate of the child, if any;
(4) a statement that the affiant is or is not presently obligated by court order to make payments for the support of the child;
(5) a full description and statement of value of all property owned or possessed by the child;
(6) an allegation that termination of the parent-child relationship is in the best interest of the child;
(7) one of the following, as applicable:
(A) the name and county of residence of the other parent;
(B) a statement that the parental rights of the other parent have been terminated by death or court order; or
(C) a statement that the child has no presumed father;
(8) a statement that the parent has been informed of parental rights and duties;
(9) a statement that the relinquishment is revocable, that the relinquishment is irrevocable, or that the relinquishment is irrevocable for a stated period of time;
(10) if the relinquishment is revocable, a statement in boldfaced type concerning the right of the parent signing the affidavit to revoke the relinquishment only if the revocation is made before the 11th day after the date the affidavit is executed;
(11) if the relinquishment is revocable, the name and address of a person to whom the revocation is to be delivered; and
(12) the designation of a prospective adoptive parent, the Department of Family and Protective Services, if the department has consented in writing to the designation, or a licensed child-placing agency to serve as managing conservator of the child and the address of the person or agency.
The following may, but do not have to be included in the affidavit:
(1) a waiver of process in a suit to terminate the parent-child relationship filed under this chapter or in a suit to terminate joined with a petition for adoption; and
(2) a consent to the placement of the child for adoption by the Department of Family and Protective Services or by a licensed child-placing agency.
(d) A copy of the affidavit shall be provided to the parent at the time the parent signs the affidavit.
Affidavit of Waiver of Interest in Child
A man may sign an affidavit disclaiming any interest in a child and waiving notice or the service of citation in any suit filed or to be filed affecting the parent-child relationship with respect to the affidavit may be signed before the birth of the child and must signed by the man, whether or not a the man is a minor; witnessed by two credible persons; and notarized to take oaths. However, the downfall of using the affidavit of waiver of interest in the child is that it can only be signed by a man who may potentially be the father of the child, and can only be legally effective in a suit to establish interest in the child initiated by the same person who signed the affidavit. So if the mother of the child, or CPS, initiates a proceeding to adjudicate the man as the father of the child and to have him pay child support and provide medical support, the affidavit or relinquishment cannot be used by the man as an excuse to avoid being adjudicated as the father. The affidavit of waiver of interest in the child is less often used because it can only be used when the father initially does not want to be involved in the child’s life, and later changes his mind to become the father or have an interest in the child, in which case the mother can use the affidavit of waiver of interest in the child to oppose the father’s involvement in the child’s life.
For example, M meet W. They are attracted to each other and start a relationship. After about six months, W finds out she is pregnant. M, who is only 18 years old, is in shock and cannot see himself being a father. W and M agree that M will not be in the child’s life and M signs an affidavit of waiver of interest in the child and meets all requirement for the validity of the affidavit. Two years later, after the child is born, W wants to put M on child support so she initiates a suit affecting the child in the local court. M cannot use the affidavit of waiver of interest in the child that he signed two years ago because it was not a suit initiated by him. On the other hand, if it was M who decided to initiate a suit affecting the child to either be involved in the child’s life, then W can use the affidavit of waiver of interest in the child to let the court know that M’s parental rights should be terminated.
If you have any questions regarding termination of parental rights and need a great child custody attorney in Spring, TX, North Houston, Woodlands, Klein, Tomball, Cypress, FM 1960, Galveston, and surrounding areas, call the A.T. Law Firm for a free consultation 832-800-5590. We would be very happy to help you. We also travel to different counties including but not limited to Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Ford Bend County, Waller County, and Brazoria County. Contact the A.T. Law Office to set up a free consultation.