Will terminating my parental rights stop payments of retroactive child support?

Mens divorce lawyerQuestion:

A paternity test proved I am the father of a child, though the child’s mother listed another man on the birth certificate.

The child is now a teenager and I have suddenly been ordered to pay child support in addition to paying four years worth of retroactive child support. The mother also wants me to pay back child support from more than four years ago.

I do not know this child and want to stop paying child support since I have no relationship with the child or the mother. How can I stop paying child support?


In the state I practice in (Texas), there is a rebuttable presumption that retroactive child support not exceeding the amount that would have been due under the child support guidelines for the proceeding four years is reasonable and in the child’s best interest.

However, this presumption can be rebutted with evidence that the man knew or should have known that he was the father of the child and was evading the establishment of a support obligation. Tex. Fam. Code § 154.131(c)(2).

Thus, if the child’s mother wants to try and obtain retroactive child support spanning back more than four years, she will need to present evidence rebutting the presumption. In order to do so, she will have to show that the man knew or should have known that he was father of the child and attempted to avoid a child support obligation.

If this can be shown, than the court can award retroactive child support back to the date that the father knew or should have known of the obligation. See Tex. Fam. Code § 154.131(d). If this cannot be shown, than the father will only be responsible for past child support going back up to four years prior to the order.

Once it has been established that a man is the father and he is ordered to pay child support, this obligation ends if: (1) the child reaches 18 or graduates from high school; (2) the child dies, (3) the child begins active service in the armed services, (4) the father and mother marry, or (5) the parent-child relationship is terminated.

Applicable here is the termination of the parent-child relationship. A suit to terminate the parent-child relationship is appropriate when a parent wants to voluntarily relinquish his or her rights; however, such is only granted if it is in the best interest of the child.

A decree terminating the parent-child relationship is a final judgment and, absent a motion for new trial or appeal, it cannot be modified. The decree will end that parent’s legal rights regarding the child and will terminate all future child support payments.

However, even if the parent-child relationship is terminated, the termination does not absolve the former parent’s liability for child support arrearages that accrued prior to the termination. Thus, the former parent may still be responsible for paying previously ordered retroactive child support.

To answer your question, in order to end a current obligation for child support, the parent-child relationship will need to be terminated, but such will only be granted if it is in the best interest of the child at issue.

Thank you for submitting your question for more information on this topic or to obtain more specific answers to your situation please contact a Texas attorney. Please be advised that my answering of this question does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located in 18 states.


Jennifer Hankinson is a Staff Attorney in the Dallas, Texas office of Cordell & Cordell, where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Hankinson is licensed in the state of Texas. Ms. Hankinson received her bachelors’ degrees in both Finance and Political Science from Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California. She later received her Juris Doctor from Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington, where she graduated Cum Laude.  

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6 Comments on "Will terminating my parental rights stop payments of retroactive child support?"

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3 months 24 days ago

This blog is fantastic. I’m from Texas too, so I have a question you may be able to help me with: in this exact scenario (giving up parental rights), what would be enough to be “in the best interest of the child?” Does a parent have to be abusive? A drug-addict? Or simply not be present for a child even during their visitation time? I’m trying to understand what would lead a judge to believe that a parent giving up their parent rights would be in the best interest of the child.

Chris Jordan
7 months 4 days ago

I live in PA and I need to know what happens if I sign over my rights to the mother because she wants me to give up all rights to the child?

9 months 10 days ago

My question is if the legal way you wrote about for giving up one’s parental rights and not having to continue paying child support is accepted by all 50 states and what would be the cost of filing the request if you would know this.

3 years 3 months ago

Ways to game the system and avoid paying support…
There are several more ways any disgruntled fathers can use to take their bargaining power back with the courts that aren’t covered in this article but are covered extensively in this new book on how to avoid child support – http://www.getoutofchildsupport.org

4 years 1 month ago
child supportI live in TX. Im married and had an affair with a woman and the iutcome is that she got pregnant. I know this doesnt mean much to the tx law but she said that she couldn’t have chikdren due to medical reasons and was on birth control anyways. She at the time told me she was married as well..common law. I knew nothing about her being pregant or having a baby untill the child was almost a year old. We never communicated after the one time affair. Now she was trying to blackmail me by asking me for… Read more »
5 years 7 months ago
childsupportHello My name is Nick Haza I am 56 yrs old. My ex wife ran away with the mooneis and they hid her out so i couldnt find her or a child she staqted was mine, I have asked many times for this to be proved to me to no avail. I dint like hassles so after looking for him the said child for quite awhile and since i was in the military they also helped look for her we finally found her In Alaska i then went to see my so called child when i got there i visited… Read more »