Legal custody encompasses the right to make decisions about the health, welfare and general well-being of your child. In almost all cases in Pennsylvania, parents share legal custody. Sometimes, a court will decide it is better, or parents will agree, that only one parent makes the decisions -- and that is sole legal custody.
Legal custody is not related to child support in Pennsylvania. Even if a parent agrees to forego legal custody, that parent will still be liable for child support. Additionally, if parents agree not to exchange child support, that agreement is not enforceable and is subject to modification at any time because a parent cannot waive child support on behalf of the child.
Even if the father decides he does not want any legal custody rights, he will still responsible for child support. However, if his parental rights are terminated, he will not longer be liable for child support. He will be unable to terminate his rights unless they are taken away from him by a court for cause or there is another man willing to step in and adopt the child. Children have a right to parents so we do not let parents simply walk away from their responsibilities.
These comments are intended as general information and do not constitute legal advice.
Attorney Kerns provided a very sound and solid response. The other parent will have to pay support until a court terminates his parental rights or until another individual steps in to take that person's place as the child's parent and supporter.
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Even if you have sole legal custody of your child, the father is still obligated to pay child support. For some reason, parties sometimes believe they can just "sign away" their "right" to a child and then not be responsible for that child. Support is an obligation owed to the CHILD, and a parent cannot just sign away that obligation to their child.
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