Most parents want to play an active role in the rearing of their children, even if they are separated from the other parent. They want to be involved and help their child to reach a level of maturity that will enable them to be able to blossom later on in life. However, that is not always a case.
There are some men and women who were never really interested in being parents or who have come to a point in their lives where they just don’t want to be involved in the rearing and raising of their children. This happens for a number of reasons, most often related to the other spouse marrying someone else and moving on so that the new husband or wife has taken over that parenting role. Feeling left out, they decide that maybe the child is best off if it is their former spouse and their new partner who takes care of the child or children.
Requesting to Give Up Parental Rights
If you are a parent who is facing one of these scenarios, where you have decided that it is time to move on in your life and you simply don’t want to be involved in the lives of your children, you should know that there are options available for you. You are able to give up your parental rights, as long as you have met a number of conditions.
Understand that simply deciding to give up your parental rights is not allowed under Arizona law. You must first express your desire to give up your rights with the other parent and gain his or her approval. If the child is over the age of 13, the court can even deem that it is necessary for you to get consent from the child to be able to do this.
There are factors that make this process much simpler. If you have abandoned the child at some point or have been accused or found guilty of endangering the child or children, it is more likely that the court would rule in favor of your request.
Understand that making this decision means you will no longer be allowed to play any role in the decision-making process of your child or children. This means you are not able to communicate with them, and you must forgo all attempts to try to regain your rights. That is why this is viewed as such a serious option.
Signing Over Your Parental Rights Does Not Stop Child Support
Often times, a parent chooses to give up their parental rights for one primary reason; They are under the assumption that forgoing these rights means that they will no longer be required to pay child support. The truth is that is just wrong. Even if you have given up your parental rights, you are still required to pay child support as prescribed by the court. You simply cannot decide that giving up your right exempted you from these payments.
However, if the other parent, the custodial parent, agrees that child support does not need to be paid anymore, then the court is likely to agree and discontinue court-ordered child support payments. This is a required step, however.
Understand that this does not come easily. If the court recognizes that the custodial parent will likely need to receive some kind of government aid as a result of child support payments ending, they are not likely to agree to the terms. The last thing they want is for one parent to give up these payments, thus making the state or county responsible. That is not an acceptable option.
What must occur is that the custodial parent must prove to the court that he or she would be able to care for the children on their own if the child support payments end. This is a requirement of the court.
You should also be aware that if the parent who is looking to forgo their rights owes past child support payments, the relinquishing of their rights and the approval of the custodial parent to end child support payments does not exempt them from paying overdue child support amounts. This is viewed as a debt which is still owed and is required to still be met as part of the previous order. This is an important distinction for you to be aware of if you are attempting to forgo your parental rights.
Consult With an Attorney
It is easy to see how complicated this may get. While laws are intended to be simple, that is not always the case. The reality is that handling a situation like this can get rather complicated, no matter which parent you are in the discussion.
Whether you are a parent who is looking to relinquish your parental rights or the custodial parent whose former spouse or other significant other is looking to forgo their parental rights, you need adequate legal protection. Understand that the smallest mistake can wind up costing you and your child, which is why it is essential that you seek sound legal advice before proceeding in any matter like this.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.