Parental rights are defined by law as the rights and responsibilities of a parent to make major decisions regarding health care, education, spiritual development, quality of life, and other essential matters in a child’s life. Parents should make these decisions with the child’s best interest in mind.
Unless otherwise limited by the law, parental rights generally include the following:
- The physical and legal custody of their child
- The right to teach their child moral values and good character
- The right to transfer their property as an inheritance or gift to their child
- The right to control and manage a minor-aged child’s earnings
- The right to make decisions concerning their child’s medical treatment
- The right to represent a minor-aged child in a contract
While parents can share and enjoy these rights, the courts may limit the parental rights of divorced or separated parents. This applies to both custodial and non-custodial parents. In a sole custody arrangement, the custodial parent is the one the minor child lives with. A non-custodial parent is not allowed physical custody of his or her child by a court order but visiting rights might be established.
A family court may divest parents of these rights if one or both of them have violated the law or if the father refuses or is unable to affirm paternity. Parental rights can also be terminated by a parent voluntarily. Giving up of parental rights brings to an end the legal relationship between parent and child.
Can You Relinquish Parental Rights in Colorado?
Relinquishment in Colorado is a legal process where a mother or father renounces their parental rights and gives another party the right to take custody of their child. Under Colorado law, a court’s approval of the relinquishment divests the parent of all custody rights as well as support obligations.
The Voluntary Relinquishment of Parental Rights in Colorado
Parental rights may be terminated either voluntarily or involuntarily. A parent may sometimes give up their rights voluntarily if they feel it is best for their child.
A Colorado court can permit a non-custodial parent voluntary termination of their parental rights only upon the consent of both birth parents and after taking numerous factors into consideration. These factors may include:
- lack of attention and due care
- a parent’s behavior that can potentially expose a child to danger
- the effortful attempts of a parent to build a relation with a child
- whether child support has been provided in the past as well as the present
Normally, Colorado family courts do not want to terminate parental rights because they believe that a child should benefit from the love and care that their parents may have to give. Voluntary relinquishment of parental rights will only be allowed by the court if it is in the best interests of the child.
The termination of parental rights can be granted in the case of a parent whose dependence on drugs or alcohol can put their judgment at risk. In certain circumstances, a non-custodial parent is granted the choice to voluntarily give up parental rights if another person agrees to assume full responsibility for the child, such as an ex-spouse or a child’s stepmother or stepfather.
Can You Sign Over Your Parental Rights to Avoid Child Support in Colorado?
A non-custodial parent cannot just decide to voluntarily relinquish parental rights. It must be first established before the court that the non-custodial parent is not giving up his or her rights due to coercion or pressure from other parties. The voluntary termination of parental rights can also be denied if the non-custodial parent wishes to evade child support duties. If avoidance of child support payments is stated as the primary reason for giving up parental rights, then the court can recommend modifications in payment conditions.
The Involuntary Relinquishment of Parental Rights in Colorado
Generally, the state can terminate parental rights if a parent is found unsuited to support a child. The situations that can set the involuntary relinquishment of parental rights in motion include:
- severe child neglect or abandonment
- a parent’s dependency on drug or alcohol
- chronic mental illness or inadequacy of the parent(s)
- sexual abuse
- a parent’s involvement in crimes, felony convictions, and imprisonment
- giving up parental rights in favor of another child
In cases of involuntary parental rights termination, both parents’ consent is not required.
Are There Other Choices To Parental Rights Termination in Colorado?
The choice to terminate parental rights is a very serious matter that should be given grave consideration. Parents are sometimes forced to give up their rights due to fear and their inability to change circumstances. Before making hasty decisions that will prove regrettable later on, parents can try to consider other choices which include:
- modifying visitation arrangements
- trying supervised visitations
- seeking settlement negotiation and counseling
- looking for payment reduction and other changes in child support duties
- following the orders of social services and similar agencies
- seeking the court’s decision in resolving conflicts which are hard to settle with the other parent
- allowing others temporary guardianship or custody of the child
In nearly all cases, it is always beneficial for the child to experience a strong and loving bond with their mother and father. This also holds true for one or both parents who are likewise struggling with their own issues.