UPDATE: Can I Sign Away My Parental Rights to an Unborn Child?

 Posted on August 13, 2021 in Paternity

Illinois paternity attorney, Illinois family law attorney,

Originally published: May 16, 2016 -- Updated: August 12, 2021

UPDATE: It is important for fathers to understand that attempting to avoid responsibility for a child by refusing to sign the birth certificate or acknowledge fatherhood is usually not a good strategy. Even if a person did not want to have a child and does not want to be involved in the child’s life, they may still bear some responsibility for ensuring that the child’s needs will be met.

While a father may choose not to voluntarily acknowledge paternity, the child’s mother or other parties, such as a child support agency, may take legal action to establish paternity for the child. In these cases, a court will usually order DNA testing to be performed, and if a test shows that a man is the child’s biological father, he will be recognized as the legal father. Even if a father will not be sharing in parental responsibilities or spending any parenting time with the child, he will most likely still be required to pay ongoing child support. Typically, a father’s responsibilities toward a child will only be terminated if the child is adopted by another party, such as a step-parent or a relative. In these cases, the father may voluntarily relinquish parental rights and responsibilities, and the adoptive parent will be named the child’s legal parent.

Even if you did not have the desire to become a parent, you will likely need to accept responsibility for a child that you had a part in creating. As you consider your role in your child’s life, you may want to think about the opportunities that will be missed and how the child will be affected by their inability to have a relationship with you. When determining how to address these issues, you can consult with a St. Charles paternity attorney to make sure you understand your rights and options. For a free consultation, contact Goostree Law Group at 630-584-4800.

One of the greatest inequities in the ongoing abortion debate is the male partner's right to opt out of parenthood. While a pregnant woman can choose whether she wants to terminate a pregnancy or not, her male partner does not have this option. Naturally, this is upsetting to many men, especially those who have been in situations where they wanted their pregnant partners to abort but instead became fathers against their will.

So what are your options if you do not want to become a father? You do have the right to relinquish your parental rights to the child. In fact, if you are not married to your partner, you do not have to acknowledge any right to the child in the first place by opting not to sign the birth certificate. If you find yourself in a situation where your partner is pregnant and you do not want to be a father, you need to have a serious discussion with her about your expectations and your plans regarding your role, if any, in the child's life. Although you cannot force a woman to terminate or keep a pregnancy, you can certainly voice your opinions to her about it. You can also work with an Illinois paternity lawyer to determine your rights as an individual who has voluntarily relinquished his parental rights.

Opting Out of Signing the Birth Certificate

In most situations, a married father is automatically granted parental rights to a child born to his wife and an unmarried father can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity to gain parental rights to the child. If you are not married to your partner and you choose not to sign this document, you cannot seek parenting time with the child later. Similarly, your partner cannot seek child support payments from you.

Facing a Paternity Action

If your former partner or the party that has custody of the child later decides they want to determine that you are the child's father, they can file a paternity action to do so. This is a circuit court process where a judge determines whether you are the child's legal and biological father. You may need to demonstrate to the court that you are unfit to be the child's father and that it is in his or her best interest that you do not assume this role.

Work with a Kane County Family Attorney

There are few resources available for men who want to opt out of their children's lives. Choosing to relinquish or terminate your parental rights is a taboo in our culture, and it is a subject that can be very difficult to discuss with friends, loved ones, and even your partner. But you have rights too, including the right to choose not to be a parent. Defend this right by working with one of the experienced Kane County paternity lawyers at the Goostree Law Group. Contact us today to schedule your free legal consultation with a member of our team.




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