Under WA state law can judge overrule one parent signing over parental rights and not paying child support

Asked almost 6 years ago - Lynnwood, WA

My ex signed over his parental rights in agreement that he would have relief from back child support, today the judge said he will not allow that. How can we get around this?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Thuong-Tri Nguyen

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . In WA (and likely all other states), both parents have a duty to financially support their minor children until the parents' parental rights have been legally terminated. Parents generally do not have the right to terminate their parental rights by themselves.

    A parenting plan on its face is an order enforceable against both parents. For example, if the parenting plan states that on Wednesdays the child shall reside with the father, then the father is legally require to keep the child on Wednesdays. As a practical matter, on its own, the court is unlikely to make the father keep the child on Wednesdays. Thus, if neither parent complains, the court likely would not care or intervene.

    As for the child support, there is no law that the mother keeps the child support. If the mother gets public assistance, the child support is likely being paid through the state. The state likely will deduct its reimbursement from the child support paid by the father and forward the balance to the mother. The mother is free to write a check and send the balance back to the father.

    Have you thought about the child? Would it serve the child's best interest to not know the child's parents? Do you have enough money on your own to take care of the child's needs?

    "How can we get around this?" The most legal way is to get a stepfather to adopt the child and the court to terminate the parental rights of the biological father. The adoption would have no effect on the child support that is already owed.

  2. Yale Lewis III

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . Child support cannot be modified retroactively, except under very rare circumstances.

    Parental rights cannot be terminated unless some other parent is willing to take over the child support duty prospectively. i.e. and adoption. even this does not discharge the past support

    basically, there is not legal way to "get around this."

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