When a Father’s Rights Can Be Terminated

When a Father’s Rights Can Be Terminated

The family is the most important component of society. But there are times when a father’s rights can be terminated. This is done through a lawsuit and decided upon by a judge. Below are some of those situations that fathers should really understand.

When can a Father’s Rights be Terminated?

A father’s rights can be terminated through an “affidavit of voluntary relinquishment” of parental rights signed by the father who agrees that the court should terminate his rights to the child. An “affidavit of waiver of interest” in the child should also be signed to signify that the father is willing to give up his interest in the child, whether born or unborn.

After these documents are submitted to the court, the judge will determine if the father’s rights should be terminated or not. Once the judge signs the court order, that’s when the decision is final.

The court can also terminate the rights of a father involuntary under certain circumstances. It includes child abuse, substance abuse by a parent, child deprivation and neglect, abandonment, mental incapacity of the parent and a crime committed by the father to the other parent.

The main goal of the termination of parental rights is to remove the child from an unhealthy or destructive environment. So, if the court sees any risks that put the child in a less than ideal situation, the judge may terminate the rights of the father.

There are also insufficient grounds for terminating a father’s right to his child. For instance, conflicts in religion between the parents don’t warrant termination of rights unless the child’s interests or safety is affected by it.

A previously incarcerated father who is now clean or a father living with another person of the opposite sex also doesn’t warrant termination of his rights unless it is directly affecting the child’s quality of life.

Is it Easier to Terminate a Father’s Rights if the Parents are not Married?

If the biological parents are living under one roof, their parental rights will be similar to married couples. But, if the mother has custody of the child and is married to another man, her husband will be deemed the legal father of the child. In some cases, this is enough to terminate the biological father’s parental rights. However, there are some questions about the logic behind denying a child his biological father.

What happens if the Child has no other Parent?

If a child is left with no parent or guardian after the termination of parental rights, the court will usually place the child in foster care by filing a petition under the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act.

Finally, most American states don’t allow the reinstatement of a father’s rights once it has been terminated. There are instances, however, when a father can file a petition proving that he is already fit to provide a safe and nurturing environment for his child who’s left in a foster home. If the court finds his petition agreeable, then the judge may sign a reinstatement.

No matter what your circumstances are, it’s best to work with an attorney to make sure that everything is done properly and in accordance with the law.


The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd practices Family and Probate Law and has two offices located in Granbury and Plano, Texas. We‘re happy to offer our services here and to the surrounding areas: Plano, Frisco, Allen, McKinney, Lewisville, Denton, The Colony, Little Elm, Carrollton, Richardson, Addison, Dallas or Fort Worth

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