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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7 comments on “Will terminating my parental rights stop payments of retroactive child support?

    I am in need of information for the MOTHER being requested to pay child support after 14 years…She was not financially able to care for the child when born (birth certificate has dad’s last name for child). The father agreed to take that responsibility and started raising him. The mother never saw the child until about a year ago when they found each other on Facebook…. They have started forming a relationship and now the Dad is saying she needs to pay child support…. Can you give me any insight on this type of situation?

    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.

    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?

    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.

    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

    child support
    I 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 money and a car and also wants me to remain sleeping with her. I answered her no because not only what we did a mistake, im married and love my wife, and didn’t know if thechild was mine. Turns out it is. She filed for support through the attorney general. I do not know this child and cannot be a good father to this child being that i have four children with my wife. Can i give up my rights?

    Hello 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 for the day he doesnt look anything like me i said are u sure he is my oh yeah she says no get out. Knowing I didnt have a vehicle she kicked me out in a blizzrd I walked back to base via stop at the churh who gave me refuge till i warmed back up the i continued to the miltary base. Thought there was a law in alaska about blizzards and strandeing folks but hey being a Marine I survived. It still has never been determained if in fact he is mine. I know she aborted another while we togeather and was never sure it was mine either i believe she aborted because she knew it wasnt mine. Anyhow sorry about the book here. Okay I decided since it wasnt very much the child did deserve some help even thought i have never seen him after that date. I have never had but 1 time of seeing my child shes moved and i have never had any contact in this childs life because that is the way she wanted it.I paid fee’s up until 2008 where i got hurt and have never been able to work since. I have been harrassed lic pulled many times an it is the only way for me to get to the doctor for my condition. Today i got another letter from the child enforcement angency they are raising it to 200.00. I called them and said hey look i thought we had an agreement as long as u did not raise it i would see if my family & friends could help me scrape up 68.00 per month an i will continue to pay today the paralegal that they use in the enforcement agency told me she has the right to raise it if she feels it wont be paid in a timely matter i said look i have no income i have a medical hardship since 1985 where i broke my back in 3 places in a train accident I dont have 200.00 per month. I cannot pay it too bad she says i’ll have to pull ur license i told her i didnt apreciate what she was doing and also was going to let a judge know she seems to think she has the same duties as a judge to do anything she feels she needs to to collect that money wheather we had a previous agreement or not without notice. I can’t pay the child is over 19 now, i dont even know who he is or in fact if he is even my child or not. What can I do here i got no money so how do i proceed on my own if i have to because of funding. God Bless with all ur help a former vietnam vet an american soilder

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