What kind of circumstances have to be in place in order for a NCP to give up parental rights and to stop child support? 21 Answers as of June 13, 2011

I have a child by an ex-wife and am (and have been for a long time) under great financial stress. Recently, my ex offered to allow me to terminate my parental rights in order to stop the child support obligation and that, out of the goodness of her heart, she would still allow me to have visitation. Now, knowing her like I do, I am suspicious of her purpose. My question is, if I waive my parental rights to this child, are there circumstances that would force me to still pay support? What circumstances must be in place in order to waive parental rights and to be relieved of support payments?

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
If your rights are terminated, there is no further duty to support. You become a legal stranger for all intents and purposes. Think of it this way, parental rights (right to access, possession, to make decisions, to be a part of the child's life) and parental duties (obligation to provide love, care support) are two sides of the same coin. You cannot have one without the other. We can limit your rights, or limit your duties (similar to a coin with one side worn down) but you still have something on both sides or you do not have a coin. If we completely erase the rights, that destroys the duties along with it. That said, the court does not grant termination based on the parent's wants or desires. There must be reasons. These reason are enumerated in the Family Code and are things such as you put the child in danger, you left the child without support, you abandoned the child with an expressed intent to not be part of his/her life ever again, etc. The ONLY ground for termination that is not negative is that there is another man ready, willing and able to step in and be the father by adoption and the adoption would be in your child's best interest. I do not know what your ex-wife is up to, I can tell you this, if your child support is in arrears and you terminate your rights, the past due child support does not go away. It is due and still owing and she can sue you for it. If you sign a termination document, she may choose not to file it and hold on until the day you try to get custody and they throw it in your face in court. If your rights are terminated, you have absolutely no legal recourse if she denies you access. You are a "legal stranger" to the child with as much right to spend time with them as any person on the street, which is to say absolutely none. Mom would decide when and if you speak to the kids. Have you considered filing a Motion to Modify the Child Support? If your support is too high (has your income dropped since the orders were rendered) you can ask the court to lower your support. If you have another child that was not born when the orders were issued, you can ask the court to adjust your support too. Just a thought.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/13/2011
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
If you have your parental rights terminated, you will not have the obligation to pay support. But, the goodness of her heart can become the evil in her heart and she can deny you access to the child and you can't do anything about it.
Answer Applies to: Connecticut
Replied: 6/13/2011
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
Don't do it. Based on your facts, I would petition the court for suspension or modification of the current support order. Follow your gut on this one, is what my gut tells me. A court would be reluctant to grant the motion anyway, without a substitute parent for the child's benefit. Time with your child will make you richer than any currency. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/9/2011
Law Office of James Lentz
Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
In Ohio you would still be obligated for child support. And if temporarily stopped, that can always be added on again should the need be in the best interest of the child., Please contact a local domestic relations attorney for assistance.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 6/9/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Children are entitled to both parents. One parent can't be relieved of parental responsibility unless the child is adopted by somebody else. Your parental rights cannot be terminated by your spouse, unless she marries somebody who wants to become your child's adoptive father and you consent to the adoption, unless you haven't contacted or paid support for your child for over a year, in which case the Court could terminate your parental rights over your objection. Your suspicions may be warranted.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/8/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    Assume Oregon law: Usually this occurs in an adoption proceeding. Otherwise there is really no way of getting out of child support. Once your parental rights are extinguished or released, your parenting time rights are also lost; forever. You can draw up a contract on the side to allow you contact, but that can be expensive and difficult to enforce. Your question deserves a more thorough examination then an email can offer. Call.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Child support is not a basis to terminate parental rights. It cannot be done by the parent with the obligation, in most cases, unless the other parent agrees and, in some cases, where there is a step parent who wishes to adopt.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    If your former spouse is remarried and her husband wishes to adopt the child, then you could waive all rights and consent to an adoption. After the adoption is in place you would no longer be obligated to pay child support.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Arnold & Wadsworth
    Arnold & Wadsworth | Brian Arnold
    Usually it is neglect, abuse, or abandonment. Get a consultation from a local attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    In Colorado you can't just give up parental rights unless there is someone standing in the wings to adopt the child and, for that reason, have your parental rights terminated. Until that happens, no court is going to let you off the hook for child support. So, even if your ex- agrees to "no child support" now, that doesn't necessarily prevent her from coming back later and enforcing the existing support order because your "waiver of parental rights" doesn't mean anything.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    Well, simply RELINQUISHING your parental rights will have no effect whatsoever on child support. Under current Nevada law, only a court order actually TERMINATING parental rights and obligations would have the effect of severing all future liability for support. Of course, since all you are looking for is to terminate the economic side, you COULD simply stipulate to waive (or reduce to a nominal amount) child support - if your ex is willing to do that, it would have the desired effect, and if not, you would have a pretty good idea of her actual agenda.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Doi/Luke, Attorneys at Law, LLLC
    Doi/Luke, Attorneys at Law, LLLC | Gavin K. Doi
    Generally in Hawaii, the court will *not* simply allow voluntary termination of parental rights; there must be an adoption in conjunction with that, which is "subbing" in a new parent for the parent who is giving up their rights. This should not be confused with child protective services-type situations, where the State is intervening in order to terminate parental rights of parents found to be unfit. Speak to a family law attorney in your area to further discuss your rights and responsibilities.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    Waiving your parental rights is the last thing you want to do, exceptionally for financial reasons. You are essentially telling the child you no longer want anything to do with him/her. But if you are comfortable with that, giving up your parental rights does not release any financial arrearages that you may be obligated to pay. I would strongly suggest you seek a modification to lower your support payments instead of giving up your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    You cannot just waive your parental rights to get out of paying child support. You may be giving up any right to visitation, but you would still have to pay child support unless someone else is willing to adopt the child, such as a step parent.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law, being relieved of rights and being relieved of obligations are two very different things. Therefore giving up your rights would not relieve you of the obligation to pay support. In Washington, the courts will generally not terminate a parent's support obligation unless the child is adopted by a new parent who assumes that support obligation.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    You CANNOT waive child support, nor can she. There is NO such thing as giving up parental rights to avoid support. Stop paying and you can go to jail.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Once your parental rights are terminated you are no longer obligated to provide support as of the date of termination.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate
    Law Office of Curry & Westgate | Patrick Curry
    Someone has to adopt the child.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Usually, only if the child will be adopted by someone in place of the relinquishing parent will support terminate. If you have any desire to be a parent to this child, I strongly suggest that you not do this.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    In Washington State, terminating parental rights will need to be within an adoption for support to terminate. As to visitation, you can have an open adoption agreement.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/8/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    In Washington, the only way your rights and responsibility are terminated, assuming you are not unfit, is if someone adopts your child.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/8/2011
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