How Identified Surrender of Custody Works

How Identified Surrender of Custody WorksThe Types of Surrender


A surrender of custody occurs when a birth parent voluntarily relinquishes his or her parental rights. Parents most typically surrender custody so that their child can be adopted. A parent can make one of two types of surrenders: general surrender and identified surrender. A general surrender occurs when the parent has not identified the specific adoptive parent. The parent relinquishes his or her rights with no conditions. An identified surrender of custody occurs when the parent identifies the specific person who will be the prospective adoptive parent.

What Is Identified Surrender of Custody?

To make an identified surrender, the parent must surrender his or her parental rights to the particular person who is willing to adopt the child. Only that person can adopt the child. If the prospective adoptive parent is unable to go through with the adoption, the birth parent’s surrender will not be legally valid, and his or her parental rights will be reinstated. This is a significant difference between identified and general surrenders. With identified surrenders, the birth parent has the opportunity to meet with the prospective adoptive parent, which may even be someone they know. For some parents, this makes the decision an easier one.

An Important Decision

Before surrendering parental rights, a parent must make his or her intentions clear. He or she must acknowledge that the decision was made willingly, knowingly, and in full understanding of the consequences. The parent must sign a form that says they were not pressured or coerced into making the decision. A parent will have to sign several forms and will even be offered counseling sessions to help him or her determine whether it is the right decision for them to make.

Surrendering your parental rights is a grave decision. But if you wish to explore this pathway for the benefit of your child, consult with an experienced New Jersey parental rights termination attorney. This is especially important if you choose to make an identified surrender, as these types of cases can be contingent on the adoptive parent’s ability to go through with the adoption. It helps to know your legal rights in the case the adoptive parent is unable to go through with the adoption. An attorney can explain all your options and advise you of your rights, so you make the best decision possible.

Are your parental rights at stake? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC can help. Our skilled attorneys can advise you of your rights and help you protect them. Located in Short Hills, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.

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