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I live in Arkansas. If I sign over my rights to a child that

has not yet been born...
I live in Arkansas. If I sign over my rights to a child that has not yet been born (and the mother agrees to it), can she ever come back and demand child support?
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7/11/2013
Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33,167
Experience: JD, 17 years legal experience including family law
Verified

Hello and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX my goal is to provide you with excellent service today. Before I can give you an accurate answer to your question, please provide the following additional information:

Do you intend to obtain a court order terminating your parental rights or simply sign a declaration that you are not the father? Is there another man seeking to adopt the child?

I look forward to assisting you as soon as I have received this information. Thank you.

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

I just found out today about the child and it is not due for some time. There is not another man seeking to adopt. No action has been taken yet. I just want to understand my options. The mother has verbally agreed to allow me to sign over my rights.

I see. Thank you for clarifying the situation, John.

Courts will normally not permit a parent to voluntarily terminate their rights (except in some surrogate situations) since the law provides that a child is entitled to support from both parents even if the parents do not have custody of the child.

Therefore, a declaration that you waive your parental rights would normally not be effective and a court would typically deny such a request and order you to pay support for the child.

If another man were to seek adoption of the child after the child is born, in that case you could voluntarily terminate your rights, but otherwise the parents are not typically permitted to waive the child's right to be supported by both parents.

Parental rights can only be established following the birth of the child though typically, so it is not possible to adjudicate this issue until there is a live birth.

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need so I will be compensated for my time from the deposit you posted with this website. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!

Tina

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

If the mother agrees to the voluntary termination of my rights and signs a document stating that she is not seeking child support, will that waive any future legal obligations for child support?

No, it would not I'm afraid since courts will not permit parents to waive a child's right to be supported by both parents. That can only be done by court order normally and a court will only grant such a request where there is another parent seeking to adopt the child.

I'm sorry.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

So, signing over my rights essentially just eliminates my ability to have any contact/decision making power in the child's life, but still obliges me for child support?


 


Is there any other way, other than another man seeking adoption, for me to break all ties and financial obligations to the mother?


 


Are these answers specific to Arkansas or just generalized?

If you sign over your rights through a declaration, it can be used against you in court by the mother in an attempt to prevent you from gaining custody or visitation of the child a court could still grant such rights despite the signed statement. It would not, however, terminate your obligation to pay support, so it could have the effect of preventing you from obtaining custody/visitation while having no effect on your obligation to support the child.

No court in the U.S. that I am aware of will permit a parent to voluntarily terminate their obligation to pay support since many parents would do just that to avoid having to support their child. The law simply does not permit that. I'm sorry.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

That makes sense. Will courts automatically set up child support or is that something that is assessed and set up by the parent seeking support?


 


The mother states she does not want support or to have me involved in any aspect of the child's life including child support. However, if there is a change of heart, I need to know my options.

No, courts do not typically set up support automatically. If you do not sign a declaration of paternity after the child is born, then the mother would typically need to file a petition with the court to establish paternity and support before support could be ordered against you. Or, if she is receiving assistance from the state, they could initiate court proceedings to establish paternity and support.

I hope this helps clarify the situation for you. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need so I will be compensated for my time from the deposit you posted with this website. If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Thank you!

Tina

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Is there a certain time limit from the time the child is born that the mother has to establish that? Or can she come back 10 years from now seeking child support? If so, would I be required to pay back support or just for the remaining 8 years until the child reaches legal age?

That does vary by state. Under AR law, a court can typically grant an order of support retroactive to the birth of the child anytime until the child reaches 18 years of age:

Arkansas Code Annotated Section 9-10-111: Judgment for child support - Bond.

(a) If it is found by the chancery court that the accused is the father of the child and, if claimed by the mother, the chancery court or chancellor shall give judgment for a monthly sum of not less than ten dollars ($10.00) per month for every month from the birth of the child until the child attains the age of eighteen (18) years.

Here is a link to the applicable statutes:

http://www.rylawfirm.com/RYlawfirm%20Webpages/Family%20Law/Family%20Law%20Menu/paternity.html
Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33,167
Experience: JD, 17 years legal experience including family law
Verified
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Thanks again and all the best to you.

Tina

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