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Dan
Dan, Retired Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Practice areas included family law, elder law, real estate, and transactions
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in alabama can i sign over my rights to child and not pay ...

Customer Question

in alabama can i sign over my rights to child and not pay child support
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Dan replied 6 years ago.

It is very difficult to do. In most jurisdictions only the state can petition to remove someone's parental rights (such as would happen if they determined that the father or mother was an unfit parent who presents a danger to the child), unless the termination of parental rights is part of an adoption process.

And in those places where it can be done, the norm is that it does not relieve the father of the responsibility to pay child support (until there is a new father who steps forward to adopt the child, in which event you would be released from support obligations).

Here is the applicable Alabama statute:
Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights
Ala. Code § 26-18-7
If the court finds from clear and convincing evidence that the parents of a child are unable or unwilling to discharge their responsibilities to and for the child, or that the conduct or condition of the parents is such as to render them unable to properly care for the child and that such conduct or condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable
future, the court may terminate the parental rights of the parents. In making this determination, the court may consider, but not be limited to, the following:
- The parent has abandoned the child.
- The parent is unable to discharge his or her parental duties due to:
- Emotional illness, mental illness, or mental deficiency
- Use of alcohol or controlled substances
- A conviction and incarceration for a felony
- The parent has tortured, abused, or severely maltreated the child.
- The parent’s conduct or neglect has resulted in serious physical injury to the child.
- The parent has subjected the child to an aggravated circumstance, including, but not limited to, abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, substance abuse, or sexual abuse.
- Reasonable efforts to rehabilitate the parent have failed.
- The parent has been convicted of:
- Murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent
- Aiding, abetting, attempting, or soliciting to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent
- A felony assault that results in serious bodily injury to the child or another child of the parent
- Parental rights to another child of the parent have been involuntarily terminated.
See http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/groundterminall.pdf

As noted, it is only the courts that kind terminate parental rights after finding one of the definitions of unfitness to apply or that the parent presents a danger to the child.

In short, becoming a father is a long term obligation that is not easily removed. Your best bet would be if the mom were to get married and her husband was willing to do a step-parent adoption an adopt the daughter as his own. In that event they are always willing to let the birth father voluntarily relinquish his parental rights.

If you did want to proceed even against the odds, you would need to contact an Alabama adoption or family law lawyer, who will have to argue to the court that terminating your parental rights would be in the best interests of the child.

I hope this has been at least somewhat helpful! Let me know if you have any followup questions. If none, please remember to click on the ACCEPT link so that I may receive credit for working on this topic with you. (I'd greatly appreciate it!)

Thank you,

Dan

--------------

The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship. You should always consult with a lawyer in your state.

PS: If an answer appears to you to have been very helpful, or to have taken above average expertise and/or research, or if the answer shows an above average amount of time and dedication devoted to your issue, a bonus is nice way to say "Thank you". Thanks!

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