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Can a non custodial parent give up their parental rights (and stop paying child support)??

Fort Collins, CO |

The non-custodial parent has not taken his parenting time in almost 4 years, has not followed court orders of going to counseling with the kids and owes a LOT of money in unpaid support. He takes no responsibility or blame for his decision to be a non-existent parent. Now, the kids want to change their last names to mine (which it says they can do in our divorce decree) but he is having a lawyer look at the name paperwork to see if he should "just try to give up all his rights". He doesn't want to pay child support and apparently thinks he can just "give up" his rights and not have to do that any more. I thought that he can't do that and especially just decide that he shouldn't have to pay.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. You would be correct. Oh how many "parents" wish they could do that! On the other hand, you could likely move forward to have his right terminated, but that would be to no end. He isn't participating anyway. Don't allow him to push you emotionally. Just take a breath and realize how poor of a dad he is. Thank goodness he isn't involved.


  2. No. He can not voluntarily terminate his parental rights without your permission and the court's permission. You can not involuntarily terminate his parental rights without the court's permission. As a former judge, in either case, the Court is going to want someone waiting in the wings to adopt the child. The court wants to make sure that child support is being paid and that the child had a father in his life - even if the father is a deadbeat.

    The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are interested in his legal services, feel free to call Chris at (303) 409-7635 at his law office in the Denver Tech Center. All initial consultations are free of charge.


  3. He cannot terminate his parental rights (and responsibilities) over your objection. No judge will approve that. It is unlikely that he could relinquish his rights even with your agreement unless there was someone else looking to step in and adopt the children.

    You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or info@Harkess-Salter.com. Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.