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Signing Over Rights: Part One

There’s a lot of misunderstanding out there about whether or not a parent can lose or voluntarily sign over rights to his or her child. Parental rights can only be severed when there is someone available to take the parent’s place. The rule of law in family and juvenile law matters is “best interests of the child”, understandably, the state’s position is that it is better for a child to have a parent and or caretaker, then to be floating around, "bastardized". (Yes, that is the actual legal term). Therefore, the state can terminate parental rights when it takes custody of a child in a juvenile matter; likewise, a parent can voluntarily sign over rights to the state. In both situations, the state assumes the custodial role of the child; literally, the state becomes the child’s parent until another can be found and appointed. However, outside of juvenile matters, parents can only voluntarily sign over their rights during an adoption. That’s it, juvenile matters in which the state takes custody, or when the child is adopted; in all other matters a parent cannot lose or relinquish his or her rights to his or her child.

Stay tuned for more on the discussion tomorrow.

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