Mesa, AZ asked in Adoption, Child Custody and Child Support for Arizona

Q: If my ex agrees to terminate his parental rights, what happens to the current child support order and the arrearages?

I have a child support order in Arizona (where I currently live) which started in Oregon (where I got divorced) for my 5 children with my ex. My ex has not seen our children in 4 1/2 years and not spoken with them in 3 years (regardless of me setting up times for phone calls- he just flakes). I have been the sole provider. I have been with my current boyfriend for nearly 5 years and he has been the only father figure my youngest 2 have really had in their life (ages 7 and 5 1/2). If I get my ex to agree to terminate his parental rights so my current boyfriend can adopt my kids, will this stop all future child support? (not that he has ever paid but I need this as a bargaining chip since he's $70k in the hole and growing larger every month). What happens to the past due arrearages that have accumulated after her terminates his rights? Does he still owe that or is the slate wiped clean for him? Can he ever take me to court to get his rights back later on?

1 Lawyer Answer
Stephen M Vincent
Stephen M Vincent
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: A termination of parental rights does not terminate a parent's child support obligation. But when a child is adopted by someone else, the terminated parent's obligation to pay child support ends.

This comes from ARS 8-539, which reads: " An order terminating the parent-child relationship shall divest the parent and the child of all legal rights, privileges, duties and obligations with respect to each other except the right of the child to inherit and support from the parent. This right of inheritance and support shall only be terminated by a final order of adoption."

The law does not mention what happens to arrears. My understanding is that arrears do not go away when rights are terminated unless you expressly agree to that in writing.

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