Does Signing Over Parental Rights Stop Child Support in Arkansas?
Q: I’ve been divorced for 4 years and my husband has had no contact with us and has not paid child support. He had his attorney contact me saying he wants to relinquish his rights for the sole reason of not wanting to pay child support. I met with my attorney that said unless there is someone wanting to adopt the kids that he can not relinquish his rights. His attorney is telling me he does not need my consent to relinquish his rights. And that since he hasn’t seen them or paid he can do so.
I am so confused, and I am getting two totally different stories. I have not remarried. Not sure how any state could just allow there to be only one financially responsible person. I am against him signing over his financial responsibility. My children do not know him or remember him.
A: Arkansas judges do not allow a parent to relinquish their parental rights. They also do not allow one parent to terminate the rights of another parent. It is the position of the Courts that such a move is not in the children’s best interest. If you are not receiving child support, and you want to receive child support, you can contact the office of child support enforcement to get that process started.
However, you should talk to your attorney before taking that step because if there has been no contact and no child support for a year, judges will approve a step-parent adoption. So although you have not remarried yet, if you do find that special person with whom to spend the rest of your life, and after you have been married for a year, you may want to consider a step-parent adoption.
How Do I Get Child Support?
First, you'll want to make sure you dig your heels in regarding this issue. Confidently let your ex-husband and his attorney know, in writing, that you have spoken to an attorney and recognize that what your ex-husband is wanting to do will not be legal. If he is still bluffing or is genuinely misled by his attorney, you'll need to take him to court.
In Arkansas law, the best interests of the child are what is prioritized. The ability for your ex-husband to find a way out of paying are extremely limited. Due to a change in law in 2020, your income will also be factored in with the father's income to determine how much his payments will be for.
It can be extremely financially difficult for your ex-husband to be taken to court over missed child support payments. If he's hit with a contempt citation, he could be ordered to pay all of his past-due child support. If he leaves the state to avoid paying, he could be charged with a felony. Knowledge of any this may be why he's hired an attorney in the first place.
Child Support Lawyers in Arkansas
Please contact Martin Attorneys if you are unsure of child custody laws or think you may have to take legal action in the future. We know that all parents want is a peaceful resolution to their financial needs, so we're here to fight and do the hard work for you.