A parent may reach a tough moment when they’re involved with DCPP, one where the best option for their child’s welfare involves the parent surrendering their rights to custody. This can arrive as a result of the DCPP seeking the termination of parental rights through the New Jersey court system or because of independent decision-making stemming from an open DCPP case, leading to the parent making the choice before a court has ordered it. Voluntarily surrendering one’s custody of a child allows a way for a parent to allow someone else to take over legal guardianship.
Many might already know of a general surrender of custody – wherein a parent agrees to abdicate their parental rights to decision-making, care, and knowledge of their child and the state takes on the task of placing the child with a new family – there is also an option for that parent to determine who will receive custody. In Short Hills, this identified surrender of custody is a means for the parent to hand off the guardianship and continued care of their child to someone they know who has the ability to provide a better household environment.
In Short Hills, identified surrender commonly occurs as the result of mediation between the DCPP and the child’s parent or parents. Mediation outside of the courtroom, whether there is an ongoing court case or not, allows for more open conversation about available options. This affords both the parent and the DCPP a chance to explore the best solutions for the child’s welfare through confidential, independently-mediated conversations.
If surrender of custody is identified as both a necessary and correct step toward providing the child a better future, the parent then has the option to identify a good candidate for guardianship. Though this process can start outside of the courtroom, it’s important to have an experienced lawyer from the start of DCPP’s involvement and through mediation. Williams Law Group has the knowledge and history to help parents navigate this difficult series of decisions and ensure the outcome is the best possible for both parent and child.
While this tactic may seem straightforward on its face, a family law practice’s counsel is necessary to assist with the legal actions to complete an identified surrender of custody and inform a parent of their rights within the process and after. A parent exploring this route has the right to be involved with the process of adoption, but there are varying circumstances that determine just how much involvement is allowed. In the case of identified placement, elements like contact with the potential adoptive family and even continued contact with the child after the surrender of custody can be more easily achieved.
DCPP and the state of New Jersey are likely to work with a parent who is willing to assist in the process by identifying placement, but there are still plenty of hurdles to clear. The screening process for prospective new guardians of a child is equally thorough in cases of identified or general surrender. If the potential adoptive family is unable to assume care of the child or the state finds them incapable of providing an improved environment, then the process goes back to square one and DCPP may push for a general surrender. There may also be some pushback from the state if the current foster care providers of the child are motivated to adopt themselves but are not the parent’s choice for an identified surrender.
Even though achieving continued contact or information about a child can be easier with identified placement, the help of a lawyer is essential for establishing the conditions of surrender. Any parent going through the surrender of their custody needs that legal help to protect their rights within these agreements and after mediation is over. Furthermore, a lawyer’s experience can provide options like kinship legal guardianship to facilitate identified placement of the child. Williams Law Group has the experience to guide parents through this stressful time and help the parent(s) have as much say as possible in the placement of their child after an identified surrender of custody in Short Hills.