Do I have to terminate parental rights to cancel child support?

men's divorce lawyer Rachel BrucksQuestion:

I am the non-custodial parent of a daughter who no longer wishes to see me, which I have accepted. My ex-wife says she will drop my child support, but that the only way Georgia will stop the child support order is if I terminate my parental rights.

Can the custodial parent have child support canceled? Do have to terminate my parental rights in order for the child support order to be canceled?


I am only licensed to practice law in Texas.  Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of Georgia, but Cordell & Cordell has attorneys who are licensed and located in Georgia who would be happy to arrange a consultation.

To answer your first question, many jurisdictions, such as Texas where I practice, allow parents to enter into an Agreed Order to terminate child support obligations. In other words, if both parties agree that child support will end, they can execute the documents or forms necessary to do so without interference from the state child support agency. This sometimes happens when both parties share equal time with the child and have nearly equal earnings, or, if they simply agree for other reasons.

The custodial parent is usually the person who has the right to receive the child support, so his or her signature on such an agreement is usually a necessary requirement. In Texas, it is unlikely the child support agency would interfere with an agreement entered into by the custodial parent.

However, some states may require a judge to review the agreement, and therefore may refuse to discontinue child support if the judge believes the agreement is not in the best interest of the child. Each state has different requirements as to what documents or forms are necessary to be filed with the Court to make this agreement valid, so you will need to consult with an attorney licensed in your state to be sure you are doing everything correctly.

Under Texas law, termination of parental rights does not necessarily terminate the obligation to provide child support (unless the termination is occurring so that someone else, such as a step-parent, can adopt the child). Under most jurisdictions, the rights a parent has to their children are entirely separate from the duties a parent has towards their children.

Parental rights include things such as the right to visitation, to receive information about your child’s health care, to consult with the other parent regarding the child’s education, and even to possibly receive a portion of your child’s earnings (your previous Decree, Order, or state statutes should outline what rights you currently have).

Parental duties include things such as paying child support and providing for the physical well being of your child. The Court’s obligation is to ensure that measures taken are in the best interest of the child, and children need to be provided for, so a termination of parental rights does not necessarily terminate parental duties. In other words, a parent’s decision to voluntarily give up his or her rights to visitation, etc., may not have any effect on his or her obligations to still provide for the child through child support.

In addition to consulting with an attorney licensed in Georgia, you should consider the following: (1) Whether or not the benefit stopping child support outweighs the rights you would retain to your daughter outside of visitation, (2) the fact that your daughter is young and could change her mind about visitation later, (3) a termination of parental rights may also prohibit you from inheriting from your child or your child inheriting from you or your family in your state, and (4) that a termination of parental rights is permanent and cannot be undone later.


Rachel A. Brucks is a Staff Attorney in the Fort Worth, Texas office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Brucks is licensed in the state of Texas. Ms. Brucks received her Bachelors degrees in English and Political Science from the University of Texas at Arlington. She received her Masters in Literature and Gender Studies from Texas State University, San Marcos; and received her Juris Doctor from Southern Methodists University, Dallas.

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6 comments on “Do I have to terminate parental rights to cancel child support?

    do I have to terminate parental rights for child support to be cancelled
    I have a daughter who lives with her dad in Forney Texas. I live in Tampa Florida.The court automatically granted him child support changing the orginal divorce decree because I could not afford to attend court. We both agreed I didnt have to pay but the court didnt let him speak. How can we get the agreement for me not to have to pay done..Thanks Kacey

    Is it really true that I can get child support in Texas even after my child’s father has signed a termination agreement? He doesn’t wish to have parental rights to her but I could really use some help.

    Prejudiced in Texas
    I am considering doing just that. I ran away from a physically and emotionally abusive relationship, left a long paper trail. My ex waited until the time was up after his last beating to press charges, then got a default divorce giving him custody of the children and back child support. ( Texas) I was living in Reno at the time. With no support from him. We had already seperated and he was ordered to pay child support to me. So I joined the military and was injured severely. My children, now one is 18, still has two years in high school, one is 17, and lives with me, and I support them, not with just the child support, but ALL medical ( he was supposed to pay half) he has paraded ten different girlfriends, all became live ins at one point, ( the divorce decree prohibits people not married to him spending the night), and continues to try and alienate the children. Because I didn’t get to retire from the military ( I do get 100% compensation service related), I am not a “real veteran”. My 18 year old would move in, but doesn’t want to leave his youngest sister who is 15 unprotected, and she suffers from stockhom syndrome from being with her dad. He keeps threatening to take the 17 year old back,, Won’t happen, but still, and said he should have killed me when he had the chance. He only stopped because the youngest child was there ( he doesn’t mention the older daughter who is now living with me, was also there at the time). I want to give up my parental rights to my 18 year old, who can legally see me ANY time, and who after a trip of infected toes that should have been on insurance my child support allegedly was paying for was never active from my ex’s part, HE had to be responsible for all the documents. And to my 15 year old who doesn’t want to see me because of things her father has told her. My guess is she will figure it out someday. I need the money to PROVIDE for the children NOW, medical, food, education, which I DO anyway just short the large amount that goes to him,, The reason he got away with MOST of his abuse and the courts is because he is a very white man, and I am Native American and look Hispanic. East Texas is still “good ol boy”.. Any Help ?

    Child support in Texas
    I am a joint custody non custodial parent now living out of state I got divorced in Texas and my x will not honor any part of the agreement other than her demand for child support, which she admitted she uses to buy herself a new car and pay her cell phone bill. I cannot reach my son as they block my calls and I get nothing but abusive messages from her. I cannot get a copy of his report cards, or even a school picture ( I contacted the school multiple times and even sent my documentation in and still I get nothing. She has taken him to a “shrink” without my knowledge or consent” and won’t even give me his name but states my son (who I raised but since I left he’s been he’s living with her parents, who have a lot of money and free legal and give him what ever he wants) doesn’t want to talk to me… Yet I get a snuck in call from him..(with him Telling me he misses me… ) but I cannot get anything but abuse from them. I called CPS but that was a joke as they called ahead and they knew he was coming and my son was bullied by them to say everything was fine.. It’s like a very bad movie.. But every month they keep wanting more and more money, I don’t make much and I’m barely getting by.. Do I have any options?

    Visitation rules
    My daughters dad doesn’t want to pay child support for my daughter anymore and right now it gives him joint custody; so I want to be clear that if I drop him off the joint custody goes away bc he never sent the paper off to add his name. As well as this visitation thing goes away I don’t have to do holiday split correct

    I was on a abusive relationship with exhusband and he had summer visitation and a week after him and kid’s leave he tells me they are not coming back and that he was keeping them. I have been fighting with this man for over 20 years if I do loose my custody I am done and just to keep him out of my life I am willing to serender my rights as thier mother just to stop dealing with him it is affecting my health. Can this be done?

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