How do you voluntarily forfeit your parental rights in the state of Washington?
First, a distinction needs to be made between parental RIGHTS
and parental RESPONSIBILITIES
. Parental rights pertain to custody and visitation. Parent responsibilities refer to the parental obligation for financial support of your child.
In the state of Washington, you voluntarily give up your parental “rights” by simply not exercising those rights, thereby waiving those rights. It is totally up to you whether to exercise your rights or not. And if you choose to not exercise and assert your legal rights as the child’s father, the government does not care and cannot force you to do so.
However, in the state of Washington, you cannot simply give-up your parental responsibilities
on a voluntary basis. As a parent, your primary legal RESPONSIBILITY (and legal obligation) is to financial contribute to the support of your child (thus relieving, in whole or in part, the taxpayers from potentially having to foot the bill through public assistance programs). So while you can give-up rights, you cannot give-up responsibilities.
There is one way, however, that you can legally forego and escape from your legal obligation to financially support your child. And that is by having some other man ADOPT your child, thereby stepping into your shoes and taking over the responsibility that would, but for the adoption, continue to be yours. So all you have to do is to recruit some other man to adopt your child, thereby becoming the child’s “new” father in place of you. Of course, this would necessarily require the mother
’s consent and active involvement. But so long as you remain as the child’s legal father, you will continue to have legal responsibilities. And if you fail to fulfill those legal responsibilities, you can expect the government and/or the other parent to come after you for enforcement purposes.
NOTE: I realize that this answer may not be entirely to your liking, and I regret being the bearer of information that you really don’t want to hear. But it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand.
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Edited by Maria-moderator on 10/12/2010 at 6:23 PM EST