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civic94

Relinquishing Rights

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I live in VA. I had a short term girlfriend who got pregnant. She was unsure who the father was. Paternity was established and i am the father. She wants back support and back pay for medical bills for pregnancy and birth. If paternity was just established am i required to pay back pay? Also i would like to relinquish my rights. Can I here and VA not being ever married and if so will i still have to pay current support?

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"Can I here and VA not being ever married ..."

I'm sorry, but that makes absolutely no sense whatever.

You are certainly not liable for any of the mother's prenatal and perinatal medical expenses. Those are hers and hers alone.

You are also not responsible for child support retroactive to the date the mother (or whoever) filed the action for paternity and child support. Depending on when the filing took place, worst case you could have to pay back to near the time of the child's birth.

You may not, however, unilaterally relinquish your parental rights. You may choose not to have anything to do with the child, that's your call, but because you are the father you are stuck with the obligation to support the child in accordance with the applicable state's child support guidelines until (a) the child becomes an adult, or (B) some other man steps forward to adopt the child as his own.

A local family law attorney can advise you of your rights and possible options regarding custody, visitation and child support.

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If paternity is proven and the mother seeks child support, then you will have to pay it, regardless of the fact that you do not want to be in the life of the child. What you may be confused with when you say relinquishing your rights is abandonment which has to be shown in some cases when it comes to adoption (i.e. the mother has a new husband that would like to adopt the child.) that is simply not your situation.

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civic94 said...

She wants back support and back pay for medical bills for pregnancy and birth.

Even if she had been sure that you were the father, she wouldn't be entitled to payment of any portion of the expenses associated with pregnancy and birth. As for back support, she can only get support retroactive to the date of filing a petition for a support order. In other words, if she has not filed to initiate child support proceedings, she can't be any "back support."

civic94 said...

i would like to relinquish my rights. Can I here and VA not being ever married and if so will i still have to pay current support?

You are free not to exercise your parental rights. However, whether or not you exercise your parental rights, you will still have to pay child support if the mother obtains a support order. You cannot run around fathering children and just walk away from your support obligations by "relinquish[ing] [your] rights (and, in fact, you cannot "relinquish [your] rights" except to the extent that, if some other man is willing to be a father to the child and adopt the child, you can consent to the adoption).

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Yes as of now you have to pay child support and it'll most likely be back dated to the day the child was born. And yes you CAN reliquish your rights. First you have to get a lawyer, then you have to get the mother to agree to signing the papers, which would mean she would no longer receive child support. Good luck talkin ger into that!

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Staceyjf said...

Yes as of now you have to pay child support and it'll most likely be back dated to the day the child was born.

As my response and other of the other responses indicated, this is wrong. Federal law prohibits an order of back child support to be retroactive any further back than the date of filing the application or petition to obtain support. In other words, if a child is born on January 1, and Parent A files a petition for child support on July 1, and the court enters a support order on August 1, the court can order Parent B to pay child support retroactive to July 1. But the court cannot legally order support retroactive to the date of birth (or any other earlier date).

Staceyjf said...

And yes you CAN reliquish your rights. First you have to get a lawyer, then you have to get the mother to agree to signing the papers, which would mean she would no longer receive child support.

This is also wrong. "Staceyjf": I strongly suggest you not post when you don't know what you're talking about. And, if you're going to contradict previous responses, you should at least explain the legal reasoning behind what you're saying. No state permits what you're suggesting (although it is a fairly common myth).

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Thank you for all the helpful advice especially the last response. Now does anyone know if i can go about doing this without a lawyer? If not does anyone know of a cheap lawyer here in VA?

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"Now does anyone know if i can go about doing this without a lawyer?"

Not clear what you mean by "this", but obviously if you don't know what to do/what you're doing, it would be tough going.

"If not does anyone know of a cheap lawyer here in VA?"

Even if we knew precisely where you were and were allowed to do referrals from the boards (we're not), what is "cheap" is relative/subjective. Call around. :)

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As for federal law prohibiting retroactive child support, I don't know whether Texas (perhaps among others) knows that (and I hadn't heard anything about any federal statute or case law on the topic, but then I'm not a child support geek).

At least in Texas, if the mother can prove the father went underground or missing or was avoiding being found, they can get retroactive child support. I believe if I'm not mistaken there's a cap in terms of number of years, but ....

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What i meant is i'd like to go through the process of signing my rights off without a lawer. That is if it's a fairly easy process. I wasn't sure if i can just get papers from a local court house to send to her stating i want to relinquish my rights. She petiotioned me for child support and the court date is set for July. Could i get papers to sign off rights before that or just have to ready to bring up to her in court in july

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Fallen said...

As for federal law prohibiting retroactive child support, I don't know whether Texas (perhaps among others) knows that (and I hadn't heard anything about any federal statute or case law on the topic, but then I'm not a child support geek).

At least in Texas, if the mother can prove the father went underground or missing or was avoiding being found, they can get retroactive child support. I believe if I'm not mistaken there's a cap in terms of number of years, but ....

It's not as though the federal government keeps its laws secret or folks in Texas aren't privy to published federal statutes. Nor is the law in question even remotely new. Feel free to check out Part D of Subchapter IV of Title 42 of the United States Code (or you could just take the word of the two lawyers, including one from Texas, who already confirmed this (although I think Ted transposed some words in the relevant part of his response)).

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civic94 said...

What i meant is i'd like to go through the process of signing my rights off without a lawer. That is if it's a fairly easy process. I wasn't sure if i can just get papers from a local court house to send to her stating i want to relinquish my rights.

Not to sound unduly harsh, but you clearly didn't read what we already told you. To quote my first response in this thread:

"You are free not to exercise your parental rights. However, whether or not you exercise your parental rights, you will still have to pay child support if the mother obtains a support order. You cannot run around fathering children and just walk away from your support obligations by 'relinquish[ing] [your] rights' (and, in fact, you cannot 'relinquish [your] rights' except to the extent that, if some other man is willing to be a father to the child and adopt the child, you can consent to the adoption)."

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I'm not trying to run around fathering children. I have two children that live with me now and one on the way. This was a situation the mother wants me to have nothing to do with the child. She wants nothing but my money and my health insurance. I'm not going to go into detail about our reationship but my finace and i feel it's in the best interest of the child to sign off rights. I am active duty military. I have long deployments not to mention my family and i are required to pcs every few years. Meaning move to a new post. I want nothing to do with her and don't feel i should have to pay for a child i'll never see.

Thank you for all the non judgemental replies. They've helped alot. I'm going to do more research on the federal law and see what i can find out. If anyone wants to help and not be rude and judgemental feel free. It's greatly appreciated.

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I can't imagine how it would be in the child's best interest to (a) deprive that child of an active, involved parent, and (B) further to deprive that child of the financial support every child deserves from both of his or her parents. In any case, it's not what you believe is in the child's best interest that counts, but what the court believes is in the child's best interest, and the courts almost universally hold that the child should not be deprived of either.

It doesn't matter if the mother doesn't want you to be an active part of the child's life. As a parent you have the right of reasonable visitation and you can enforce that right in court over the mother's objections if you're inclined to do so. While your deployment and distance from the child obviously present certain logistical difficulties, those can be overcome, as a very large number of long-distance parents -- including active military -- can testify. Where there's a will, there's a way. Clearly, in your case the will is lacking, and that's on you.

And it seems pretty ingenuous to say since you don't want to have anything to do with the child, you don't think you should have to pay child support. This is not about you, it's about the child, and why should the child be penalized for something that's out of his or her control? Your feeble rationalizations for trying to get out of your parental responsibilities boggle the mind.

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I don't recall saying the fed kept laws secret. :) I also think I mentioned something about the Texas legislature evidently not understanding or knowing about federal law, however. See Title 5, Chapter 154, specifically 154.009. Texas seems to think it may order such support under certain circumstances.

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/

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civic94 said...

I'm not trying to run around fathering children.

I didn't say you were. There are lots of other things you cannot do that you're probably not doing. But you're missing the point.

civic94 said...

This was a situation the mother wants me to have nothing to do with the child. She wants nothing but my money and my health insurance.

Who cares what the mother wants? Seriously. Do you care what she wants? What about what you want? Whether you are or are not a part of your child's life is up to you, not the mother. Since you're going to be on the hook for child support either way, why not be a part of your child's life?

civic94 said...

I want nothing to do with her and don't feel i should have to pay for a child i'll never see.

Sorry, but you should have thought about that before you had a child with this woman. What happens if your relationship with your fiance sours? The same rationale will apply to her the children you have with her, so will you say the same thing about your other children?

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Fallen said...

I don't recall saying the fed kept laws secret.

You didn't. And didn't say you did. You did, however, suggest that "Texas" might not be aware of the aforementioned federal law. How that could be possible is something I don't know.

civic94 said...

I also think I mentioned something about the Texas legislature evidently not understanding or knowing about federal law, however. See Title 5, Chapter 154, specifically 154.009.

You didn't mention anything about the Texas Legislature. However, I cannot help but feel like we've addressed this issue previously. I'll leave it to Ted to address the Texas statute if he is so inclined and will only point out that there are lots of laws on the books in every state that are unenforceable because they contradict with federal law. Thus, that a particular state law exists doesn't necessarily mean it's enforceable.

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Wondering how we got from Virginia to Texas...

Every state, including Texas, has statutes on the books that are moot or unenforceable due to subsequent state or federal legislation or court rulings. Such statutes are frequently left on the books for a number of reasons, two of which immediately come to mind are (1) repeal of moot or unenforceable laws is often a low priority to legislators with bigger fish to fry; and (2) in case the susequent legislation is repealed or ruled unconstitutional, it's easier to return to the status quo ante.

A cursory search will reveal that many states, including Texas, have statutes permitting awards of retroactive child support. All are unenforceable for the present and foreseeable future.

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