Another Question About Child Support and Visitation Rights

A woman recently posted on Avvo:

I divorced my husband because of abuse. My daughter is 4½, and he hasn’t visited her since she was one (court-ordered supervised visits). He also hasn’t paid his court-ordered support in approximately three years. How do I go about getting him to sign off on his rights?

As we’ve noted before, this is a very common misconception: Payment of support is actually a separate issue from termination of parental rights (TPR). The woman in question could “TPR” her ex-husband and still collect. That said, she might use non-payment (and most certainly abandonment) as evidence for a TPR.

Frankly, though, I would not recommend it. The burden is high and, outside of his agreement, I told the woman she would be taking a chance at failure. Most importantly, her ex-husband would get notice of her action and might be motivated to get involved – as is his right.

If the woman was serious about proceeding, I emphasized to her that this is not a process to do yourself, and she should consult a local attorney about the specifics.