How Do I Give Up My Parental Rights in Arkansas?
The most common way to terminate a parent's rights is by voluntary relinquishment. If the other parent has a new spouse who is willing to adopt the child and completes the adoption process and if you agree, the court may terminate your parental rights and therefore terminate your parental obligations. A parent may also have rights terminated, either by voluntary relinquishment or judicial termination. A judicial termination requires proof that the parent is unfit and/or poses a threat of harm to the child. The court may order termination of the parent-child relationship if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the parent engaged in conduct or knowingly placed the child with persons who engaged in conduct which endangers the physical or emotional well-being of the child, or the parent is convicted an a child abuse offense. A termination of parental rights voids any rights and obligations toward the child. The parent will no longer have rights to custody or visitation and will no longer owe a duty of support.
Termination of parental rights will typically end the obligation for child support at that point, but not erase liability for past due support. Often, relinquishment of parental rights will not be allowed if done for the purpose of avoiding child support payments. If voluntary termination is petitioned for, the mother will be required to receive notice and may express her lack of consent at the hearing. The answer will be a matter of determination for the court, based on all the circumstances involved, such as proof of paternity. The overall consideration for the court is the best interests of the child. We suggest you contact a local attorney who can review all the facts and documents involved.
Please see also:
Please see the following AR statute:
9-9-220. Relinquishment and termination of parent and child
(a) With the exception of the duty to pay child support, the rights of
a parent with reference to a child, including parental right to control
the child or to withhold consent to an adoption, may be relinquished and
the relationship of parent and child terminated in or prior to an
adoption proceeding as provided in this section. The duty of a parent to
pay child support shall continue until an interlocutory decree of adoption
(b) All rights of a parent with reference to a child, including the
right to receive notice of a hearing on a petition for adoption, may be
relinquished and the relationship of parent and child terminated by a
writing, signed by an adult parent, subject to the court's approval.
If the parent is a minor, the writing shall be signed by a guardian ad
litem who is appointed to appear on behalf of the minor parent for the
purpose of executing such a writing. The signing shall occur in the
presence of a representative of an agency taking custody of the child, or
in the presence of a notary public, whether the agency is within or
without the state, or in the presence and with the approval of a judge of
a court of record of this state or any other state in which the minor was
present at the time it was signed. The relinquishment shall be executed in
the same manner as for a consent to adopt under § 9-9-208.
(1)(A) The relinquishment may be withdrawn within ten (10) calendar
days, or, if a waiver of the ten-day period is elected under §
9-9-220(b)(3), five (5) calendar days after it is signed or the child is
born, whichever is later.
(i) Notice of withdrawal shall be given by filing an affidavit with the
probate division clerk of the circuit court in the county designated by
the writing as the county in which the guardianship petition will be
filed if there is a guardianship, or where the petition for adoption will
be filed, if there is no guardianship. If the ten-day period, or, if a
waiver of the ten-day period is elected under subdivision (b)(3) of this
section, the five-day period ends on a weekend or legal holiday, the
person may file the affidavit the next working day.
(ii) No fee shall be charged for the filing of the affidavit.
(B) The relinquishment shall state that the parent has this right of
withdrawal and shall provide the address of the probate division clerk of
the circuit court in which the guardianship will be filed if there is a
guardianship, or where the petition for adoption will be filed if there
is no guardianship; or
(2) In any other situation, if notice of the adoption proceeding has
been given to the parent and the court finds, after considering the
circumstances of the relinquishment and the continued custody by the
petitioner, that the best interest of the child requires the granting of
(3) The relinquishment shall state that the person may waive the
ten-day period for the withdrawal of relinquishment for an adoption and
to elect to limit the maximum time for the withdrawal of relinquishment
for an adoption to five (5) days.
(c) In addition to any other proceeding provided by law, the
relationship of parent and child may be terminated by a court order
issued under this subchapter on any ground provided by other law for
termination of the relationship, or on the following grounds:
(1) Abandonment as defined in § 9-9-202(7).
(2) Neglect or abuse, when the court finds the causes are irremediable
or will not be remedied by the parent.
(A) If the parents have failed to make reasonable efforts to remedy the
causes and such failure has occurred for twelve (12) months, such failure
shall raise the rebuttable presumption that the causes will not be
(B) If the parents have attempted to remedy the causes but have failed
to do so within twelve (12) months, and the court finds there is no
reasonable likelihood the causes will be remedied by the eighteenth
month, the failures shall raise the rebuttable presumption that the
causes will not be remedied.
(3) That in the case of a parent not having custody of a child, his or
her consent is being unreasonably withheld contrary to the best interest
of the child.
(d) For the purpose of proceeding under this subchapter, a decree
terminating all rights of a parent with reference to a child or the
relationship of parent and child issued by a court of competent
jurisdiction in this or any other state dispenses with the consent to
adoption proceedings of a parent whose rights or parent and child
relationship are terminated by the decree and with any required notice of
an adoption proceeding other than as provided in this section.
(e) A petition for termination of the relationships of parent and child
made in connection with an adoption proceeding may be made by:
(1) Either parent if termination of the relationship is sought with
respect to the other parent;
(2) The petitioner for adoption, the guardian of the person, the legal
custodian of the child, or the individual standing in parental
relationship to the child or the attorney ad litem for the child;
(3) An agency; or
(4) Any other person having a legitimate interest in the matter.
(f)(1) The petition shall be filed and service obtained according to
the Arkansas Rules of Civil Procedure.
(2) Before the petition is heard, notice of the hearing and the
opportunity to be heard shall be given the parents of the child, the
guardian of the child, the person having legal custody of the child, a
person appointed to represent any party in this proceeding, and any person
granted rights of care, control, or visitation by a court of competent
(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, a
relinquishment of parental rights with respect to a child executed under
this section may be withdrawn by the parent, and a decree of a court
terminating the parent-child relationship under this section may be
vacated by the court upon motion of the parent if the child is not on
placement for adoption and the person having custody of the child consents
in writing to the withdrawal or vacation of the decree.