How to Relinquish Child Custody Rights in New Mexico

By Editorial Team

Updated July 20, 2017

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Most cases of relinquishment of parental rights in New Mexico happen when adoption of a child is anticipated. But this isn't always the case. The court might not allow the relinquishment unless it finds that there is good cause. For instance, CYFD, Children, Youth and Families Department, must have been unable to preserve the family even after a serious effort has been made, and/or, it is considered that relinquishment is in the child's best interest.

Start By HIring an Attorney

Hire an attorney if you're planning to relinquish your parental rights. You need a child custody lawyer that practices exclusively in the family law area, or at the least, one that is very experienced with New Mexico family law.

Seek counseling if you plan to relinquish your child custody rights. You must go to a trained counselor; one of your choosing, or the Child, Youth and Families Department (CYFD), can provide one for you. Adult parents are required to have at least one session, minor parents must have two, one of which will be without the minors' parents present. Alternatives and consequences of the relinquishment will be explained.

Complete a counseling narrative when your counseling is finished; this narrative has to be done according to the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department regulations and must accompany the relinquishment form that you file with the court.

Fill out your relinquishment form according to Children, Youth and Families Department regulations. You must give the date, place and time of the relinquishment, all of the information about the child, or children, in question, name and address of the agency you are using, or of CYFD, that you have fulfilled all of the counseling obligations and both parties involved understand the consequences.

Sign your relinquishment in front of a judge; the judge must also approve the relinquishment. The judge doesn't have to be in the state of New Mexico, but he or she must have jurisdiction over adoption proceedings and be within the jurisdiction where the child or parent lives at the time of the signing.


According to New Mexico law, relinquishing your parental rights doesn't absolve you from paying child support; the court can order you to pay all reasonable costs of the child's support as well as your regular child support payments. Relinquishment of parental rights is a voluntary act on the part of the parent, termination of rights is involuntary.