Parental Rights in the State of Oklahoma
It is important to understand in the state of Oklahoma, it is public policy that every child should have two parents or at least two parents that are financially responsible for that child. That may seem like a no-brainer, but the Oklahoma legislature has enacted laws in furtherance of that policy. What that means is you can’t sign over your parental rights anytime you choose.
I get phone calls on this a lot. It is usually a parent. Who has had little or nothing to do with the child since birth. They have received a notice that they need to pay child support from the state, so they call me asking if there’s any way they can sign over their parental rights in order to avoid financially supporting that child. Unfortunately, that is not how it works.
This is against the public policy of the state of Oklahoma. While the state cannot make that parent be an active, loving, participating parent in the child’s life, the state can make them financially responsible for that child in order that they pay some type of financial support to the other parent.
Ways to Sign Over Parental Rights in Oklahoma
However, there are two ways that you can sign over your parental rights in Oklahoma.
The first way to sign over parental rights is as part of an adoption. Our primary focus at Step Up Adoptions is step-parent adoptions in which the biological parent can give consent to the adoption and sign over their parental rights. This is allowed because it is in step with public policy that step-parent who will become another parent fills the role of the second parent. So the state allows the parent giving their consent, who no longer wants to be a parent, to terminate their parental rights and any financial responsibility they may have for that child.
The second way you can sign over your parental rights in the state of Oklahoma is not a good option. In this case, the state has alleged or adjudicated that child to be deprived. This means the state is saying that you, as a parent of that child, have either abandoned that child, have failed to adequately take care of that child by providing adequate housing, clothing or food, or have been abusive to that child. The state is saying that child is no longer safe in your care. In that instance, you can sign over your parental rights to the state, and they can give that child up for adoption. One distinction between this and giving your consent to a stepparent adoption is until that child is adopted, as a parent, they are still financially responsible, even after the parental rights have been terminated.
How to Sign Over Parental Rights for Adoption
Now that we know the two ways in which someone can sign over their parental rights in Oklahoma, you may still wonder how do you actually sign over parental rights while in the process of adoption.
Judge Must Be Present
The parent must sign their consent in a courtroom in front of a judge. The law requires them to be present where the judge can give multiple disclosures to make sure they know what they’re doing before they sign over their rights.
Failure to Appear
Some people ask me what happens if I want to do a stepparent adoption but know that other parents never gonna sign anything, even though they don’t care that my husband or wife is adopting this child well.
In that instance, the other way, other than actually appearing in court is they just don’t show up. We set a special hearing in adoption cases, at least with stepparent adoptions, to allow that child to be adopted without that parent’s consent, even though you know they really don’t care that it’s happening. We serve them with a notice, and when they don’t show up to court, they basically get terminated by default.
Default is the same thing that happens in the adjudication of deprived cases in district court. If the state alleges or declares that child is deprived and the parent doesn’t wanna sign over their rights, if they don’t show up for court, they will still be terminated.
Step Up Adoptions Can Help
Those are the two ways in which someone can sign over their parental rights in the state of Oklahoma as always. If you have questions or wonder if you qualify for a stepparent adoption, take our quick free quiz to see if you’re eligible in the state of Oklahoma.