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How do I go about signing my rights away


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#1 AngelRose

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 06:26 AM

I live in Florida and my exhusband lives in Maine. I have little to no contact with my children, ages 20 and 14. Their dad, "Dan" is working in a hotel as a night auditor and their stepmother is working as well. We got divorced in Florida 11 years ago and Dan moved to Maine with our children 6 months later. I fought to at least keep him in Florida. Dan only allows me to call one day a week from 4 to 6 PM. Most of the times I have called, I get the answering machine or my children want nothing to do with me. I feel he has deliberately tried to alienate my children from me. My son is in job corps and my daughter will soon be in high school. I am currently working part time at a fast food restaurant and I end up with about half my check gone to child support. I am forced to consider giving up my rights to my children in order to make it so I don't end up homeless like I did after the divorce. I owe back child support which I have no objections to paying as long as it doesn't make it difficult for me to live like a civilized human being. How do I go about signing them away? I live in a different county than the one the divorce took place in. Do I have to go to the county we divorced in to sign my rights away?

#2 Ted_from_Texas

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 06:51 AM

You cannot "sign your rights away" in Florida or any other state.  I'm sorry.

#3 legaleagle1975

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 07:10 AM

There is no such thing as "signing your rights away".  You are obligated to support your children until they are 18 years old, the court terminates your child support payments, or the children are adopted by another person.  Children are expensive and if anybody could "sign their rights away" when things got tough, there would be thousands upon thousands of parents lining up to do just that. 


You should understand that the court recognizes that your children have rights as well.  One of those is the right to be financially supported by two parents.  Having a step-parent is not the same thing since the law regards them as a legal stranger to the children.  Step-parents have no legal responsibility to support their step-children.


One of your children is over the age of 18 so you should no longer be paying current support for this child (however as you said you still have to pay on previously owed support).  The only way for you to be free of your obligations to your yournger child is to have their step-mother adopt them with your consent.



#4 Fallen

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 07:32 AM

"I fought to at least keep him in Florida."

You don't say why the husband got primary physical custody, or what the visitation/custody arrangement order says.


"Dan only allows me to call one day a week from 4 to 6 PM."

You don't say what the order says, but I doubt it says that he's free to make up two-hour windows within which you may contact your kids.  You are absolutely free to ask the family court that issued the child custody/visitation orders to amend it or, if it says something contrary to what he's doing, to hold him in contempt.


"I feel he has deliberately tried to alienate my children from me."

If he is, you're free to do something about it.

"I am forced to consider giving up my rights to my children in order to make it so I don't end up homeless like I did after the divorce."

It's not a matter of giving up your rights -- you're free to be in your kids' lives or not, your choice.  Obligations are a different matter, and you can't just sign something and have your obligations go away. 


"I owe back child support which I have no objections to paying as long as it doesn't make it difficult for me to live like a civilized human being."

Sorry, but this doesn't make a lot of sense.  No one is forcing you to subsist in a low-paying job.  Apply for grants, student loans, etc. or do whatever it takes outside a formal education program to learn skills to do something that pays better.  There are other jobs out there, even in this economy.  That may sound harsh, but it's simply the truth. 


I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)





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