Terminating Parental Rights

Live at Five’s board certified family attorney, Sonya Coffman, answers questions submitted by Southeast Texas KFDM News viewers. These questions include:

  • Can the non-custodial parent terminate their rights in order to stop paying child support?


0estructuring a family is painful and confusing to parents as well as kids a 0ommon question concerned visitations for children under the age of three are 0hey the same or are they different Live at Five’s family attorney Sonya Coffman 0oins us now with more and we've got lots of questions today so three years 0ld and under are visitation rights different when it comes to custody 0attles they are we’re often asked when overnight visits start with a very young 0hild 0nd the standard order that so many people are familiar with really doesn't 0tart until the child is age three when it's presumed to be in the best 0nterests 0o judges decide what's most appropriate for the young children and 0ecently the legislature has codified the factors that the court needs 0o consider in making that determination 0ne of the big factors is how has parenting time been divided before the 0eople got to court 0or example if usually it's a father of a very young child is trying to get 0vernight visits the court will look at whether he's had those before coming to 1ourt already 1ftentimes the visitation is incremental meaning that its gradually increased with 1he non-custodial parent getting more time s there are a lot of factors case-specific 1ut need to talk to an attorney about those issues ok on to KFDM News Facebook page 1ike I said we've got lots of questions 1an a non-custodial parent voluntarily relinquish their rights without being in 1greement to do so with the custodial parent 1f so does this relieve them from having to support their child believe it or 1ot that's a common question too 1udges are very reluctant to terminate a parent’s rights if the 1eason for doing so says is to terminate the support obligation 1o generally the answer is going to be no the court's not going to do that 1he most common situation is if say a father terminates rights and 1tep-father adopts and in that case the biological father’s 1bligation to support would be terminated but strictly giving up rights 2or the purpose of avoiding child support no ok another question I’m 2rying to get custody back of my son can’t afford an attorney but cps 2asn't done their job either as far as my child situation living conditions are 2ot good 2ental abuse is no good either can you tell me where to go from here 2rying to get custody back 2hat's going to involve either cps making the placement of the child or 2he judge deciding what's in the best interests now if this person can’t afford 2n attorney they might check with Lone Star Legal Aid about getting a 2ro bono attorney appointed 2or them it would however be very difficult to represent herself uh... without an 2ttorney okay another question 2f a child doesn't have the man's last name never had a DNA test to prove it 2hat it was his never gets to see the child and never signed the birth certificate 2hould the man have to pay child support 2ell if he has been ordered to pay child support it's a legal obligation but if 2here’s some doubt about paternity I believe we talked about this a couple of 3egments ago 3here's a new law in place now that says you can go and have genetic testing 3o matter the age of the child if he’s not the father then that support 3bligation would be terminated alright and unfortunately we are out of time 3 mean we've got lots of questions could we’ll get to those next time thanks Sonya 3hanks for having me 3nd if you'd like to have a question answered about family law you can let 3ttorney Sonya Coffman answer your questions 3ax us those questions eight nine two seven three oh five email us at laf 3kfdm.com or you can post them on our KFDM News Facebook 3age