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Lawrence D. Gorin
Lawrence D. Gorin, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 1500
Experience:  30+ years family law experience. QDROs, UIFSA, UCCJEA expertise.
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How do you voluntarily forfeit your parental rights in the

Customer Question

How do you voluntarily forfeit your parental rights in the state of Washington?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lawrence D. Gorin replied 3 years ago.
YOUR QUESTION:
How do you voluntarily forfeit your parental rights in the state of Washington?

ANSWER:
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.

===========================
If your question has been satisfactorily answered, please acknowledge by clicking the green “ACCEPT” button in the upper right hand corner of your screen. That’s the only way I get paid for answering your question. Also, your positive FEEDBACK comments are important, so be sure to add a few words as requested. And I thank you in advance.(Edited by Moderator)

Edited by Maria-moderator on 10/12/2010 at 6:23 PM EST
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
You have totally missed that I am the mother in this case. I was severly beaten by my children's father, forced from the home, accused of abandoning my children, and been denied any access to them for years. I am not allowed to participate in their lives the state will not help me with any of those issues why do I have to continue to pay support if I voluntarily forfeit my relationship to them? Can't a parent terminate their relationship with the child if the child refuses to interact with the parent?
Expert:  Lawrence D. Gorin replied 3 years ago.
OOPS! My apologies. I did not earlier understand that you are the child’s mother. And with that fact now in mind, let me answer your additional questions.....

YOUR QUESTION:
Why do I have to continue to pay support if I voluntarily forfeit my relationship to them?

ANSWER:
As a matter of public policy, the law makes no direct connection between the parental obligation to financially contribute to the support of one’s child and the nature of the relationship (or lack thereof) that exists between the parent and the child. So long as you remain the child’s legal parent, the support obligation continues. And it makes no difference whether or not you are able or allowed to see the child or have any relationship with the child. While the government may involuntarily terminate your parental rights (usually through juvenile court proceedings), you cannot do this on a voluntary basis. So even though you now desire to voluntarily forfeit your relationship with the child, the law does not allow you to do so.

YOUR QUESTION:
Can't a parent terminate their relationship with the child if the child refuses to interact with the parent?

ANSWER:
Again, it is a matter of public policy. If a parent can voluntarily relinquish their parental relationship -- and thereby be relieved of having to pay money to support child -- it may result in the taxpayer’s having the pay money to support your child. And the taxpayers do not want to spend public money to support your child, even if the child refuses to interact with you. It really all boils down to money. The government (and the public) does not care whether you have a relationship with your child or not, or whether or not your child interacts with you. The only thing the government wants is to make sure that the parent (rather than the public) provide the money needed to support the child.

NOTE: Again, 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.

===========================
Having answered your original question and now your follow-up question(s), it is appropriate for you to now click the green “ACCEPT” button, if you have not already done so, so that I may be paid for the answer and information provided. And I thank you in advance for doing so.

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