Ask a Divorce Lawyer: I signed my paternal rights over to my ex’s new husband so why am I getting child support bills again?

Jason BowmanQuestion: I live in Georgia but my 18-year-old child lives in California. In 1995, I signed a court document granting my paternal rights over to my ex’s new husband. (He was supposed to adopt him, but apparently never did.) 

Three years later, I start getting child support bills again. First for $76 per month, but now it’s up to over $100 taking out of my paychecks for back child support, money I was told I would not owe after signing the child over. 

Can they legally take this money from my check? And why would the county clerks office in San Diego tell me that I won’t be responsible for paying child support and then 3 years later suddenly start collecting again without telling me?


Answer: First, let me state that I do not practice in Georgia or California, but Cordell & Cordell has attorneys who are licensed and located in Georgia who would be happy to discuss your case with you. 

Unfortunately, what a county clerk told you is not the same as an Order from the Court. Only a Court can terminate your parental rights and until such time that your rights are terminated you are responsible for the support of your child.  

An attorney would need to look to see what Orders were issued, if any, by the California Court in order to properly determine what your rights may be under this factual situation. 


Jason Bowman is an Associate Attorney in the Louisville, Kentucky office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. Mr. Bowman is licensed in the states of Kentucky and Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Louisville, and received his Juris Doctor from Texas Wesleyan University. Mr. Bowman practiced Domestic Relations for four years with a Louisville firm, and practiced general law for one year. He is an adjunct professor with Indiana Wesleyan University where he teaches business law.

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