My ex and I had a child then separated and we never went to court about custody we just did joint custody ourselves. He's now talking about not wanting our daughter in his life because he doesn't want to go through having to raise her while my current boyfriend and I raise her as well. He says the emotional pain is too much for him to bear. My question is: Can he just not see his daughter ever again and hand over all of his rights as her father even though we've never previously been to court, or do we have to go to court?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Your facts are a bit unclear. You and your ex never married? He either is, or is not, on the birth certificate. It is unclear what your plans are regarding raising the child, with or without your current boyfriend, and whether you want him to have any formal role in the child's life. To answer the question you asked, if your ex simply walks away and neither of you ever requests contact or support, no one else in the world will probably ever hear of it or become involved. But many things can happen, and legal status has its own ramifications. There is such a thing as a voluntary relinquishment, but it does not have the legal effect of a court order for termination of parental rights. For background materials and information, see the following links, but you might be best served by making an appointment with a family law specialist for a consultation about your rights, obligations, risks, and options.