I often get questions from overwhelmed parents who feel that, for one reason or another, it would be in the best interest of everyone concerned, if they just give up their parental rights (see my other article for more details on this complex subject). However, many times the parent later regrets that decision and looks for a way to undo the legal decision that has been made. The question they ask is: “if i signed my parental rights away can i get them back”? It is very important to make a well thought –out decision at the outset and be certain that you want to terminate rights because getting them back is most often out of the question.
In New Hampshire, the Courts feel strongly about parental rights being a “natural, essential, and inherent” right as they have stated in a number of cases. That being said, the Courts will see that you have signed a paper voluntarily giving up the rights to your child, understanding that you accepted it at the time as a final decision.
So, can you undo this? This is one of those situations where you need an experienced attorney. It will all come down to your reasons for giving up your parental rights in the first place. Were you threatened?
Was there undue influence placed upon you by your ex-spouse or anyone else? Were you given false information that prompted you to make the decision? Has there been a subsequent adoption of the child? Whatever the reasons, these will need to be detailed out thoroughly with your attorney to determine whether your case falls into one of the unique cases that might be reversed and if a persuasive argument can be made for your case.
Why is this so permanent? Think of it like this. When you made this change, it affected not only your life and the child’s life. It also affected those who are caring for the child. If that was an adopted parent, they now face the uncertainty of losing this child at worst or the emotional upheaval this may cause, depending on the amount of time that has passed, at best. If it was the person your ex spouse married, there may have been a bond which has been formed between the child and the new “parent”. The court will be reticent to disturb anything which may have a negative effect on the child. The court’s number one criteria will always be the best interest of the child. This is why I always caution and am very careful to explain that this is NOT a decision to take likely and often is one that is regretted.
All that said, sometimes termination of parental rights is indeed the appropriate step for a party. If you need advice about moving forward or simply need to discuss if this is your situation, I am glad to talk with you.
Contact me online or call me. I offer free phone consultations and we can discuss your situation to see how we can best approach your situation.