In Texas, there are two ways a parent can voluntarily relinquish parental rights. One avenue for terminating parental rights is for the parent(s) to sign an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights. An affidavit of voluntary relinquishment must contain some very specific information about the child, the parents and the guardians of the child, a statement that the parent relinquishing her rights has been informed about her parental rights and duties, a statement that the affidavit is either irrevocable for a stated period of time or revocable, and a statement that designates someone else as the managing conservator of the child. The statement may also include a waiver of service in a termination suit. The affidavit cannot contain any provision for post-termination contact between the parent and the child. The affidavit must be signed before a notary and witnessed by two credible, disinterested witnesses.
The signing of an affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights does not immediately terminate the parent-child relationship. Instead, it provides a basis for the court to enter a judgment of termination. The court must also find that termination is in the best interest of the child, even with an affidavit relinquishing parental rights, in order to terminate.
Another avenue to waive parental rights is for a man to sign an affidavit waiving interest in the child. An affidavit waiving interest is irrevocable, and it can be signed before or after the child’s birth. This may be used when it is unclear whether or not a particular man is the father. Again, the signing of the affidavit does not automatically terminate any parental rights, but it can be used in termination proceedings.
In either situation, it is advisable to have the affidavit prepared by an attorney to make sure all the paperwork meets all legal requirements.