Q: My ex husband is wanting to voluntarily terminate his parental rights in MS. Can he do so if I am not married?
Can he voluntarily terminate his rights if I am not married? What are the factors in terminating parental rights voluntarily?
A: This is outlined in the statute:
93-15-111. Termination by written voluntary release. (1) A parent or an interested person may petition the court to accept a parent's written voluntary release that relinquishes all of the parent's parental rights to the child.
(2) The court may accept the parent's execution of a written voluntary release if it meets the following minimum requirements:
(a) Is signed under oath and dated at least seventy-two (72) hours after the birth of the child;
(b) States the parent's full name, the relationship of the parent to the child, and the parent's address for service of process in the proceedings to terminate parental rights;
(c) States the child's full name, date and time of birth, and place of birth as indicated on the birth certificate;
(d) Identifies the governmental agency or home to which the child has been surrendered, if any;
(e) States the parent's consent to adoption of the child and waiver of service of process for any future adoption proceedings;
(f) Acknowledges that the termination of the parent's parental rights and that the subsequent adoption of the child may significantly affect, or even eliminate, the parent's right to inherit from the child under the laws of Descent and Distribution (Chapter 1, Title 91, Mississippi Code of 1972);
(g) Acknowledges that all provisions of the written voluntary release were entered into knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily; and
(h) Acknowledges that the parent is entitled to consult an attorney regarding the parent's parental rights.
(3) An adult or minor parent who is mentally competent may relinquish all parental rights to a child, waive service of process, and consent to be voluntarily joined as a co-petitioner in a termination of parental rights proceeding, consistent with Rule 81(a)(9) of the Mississippi Rules of Civil Procedure, by filing with the court, or by authorizing an interested person to file with the court, an affidavit of a written waiver of service of process and a consent to be voluntarily joined as a co-petitioner that is dated and signed by the parent no earlier than ninety (90) days before filing of the petition or at any time after the commencement of the action, thereby allowing the court to fully adjudicate the parent's parental rights in the absence of the parent.
(4) The court's order accepting the parent's written voluntary release terminates all of the parent's parental rights to the child, including, but not limited to, the parental right to control or withhold consent to an adoption.
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