Father of great grandson had parental rights taken, he now lives in Hawaii. Can we go after him for child support?

Q) We have permanent guardianship of our great grandson. His father was in jail for 6 1/2 years. Got out last August and now lives in Hawaii. He had his parental rights taken from him for a felony child abuse. Can we go after him for child support? This all took place in Florida.

A) It may be possible to get your grandson’s father to pay child support. In most states, termination of parental rights does not necessarily terminate the obligation to provide child support (unless the termination is occurring so that someone else, such as a stepparent, can adopt the child).

Under most jurisdictions, the rights a parent has to their children are entirely separate from the duties a parent has towards their children.

Parental rights include things such as the right to visitation, to receive information about your child’s health care, to consult with the other parent regarding the child’s education, and even to possibly receive a portion of your child’s earnings (your previous divorce decree, court order, or state statutes should outline what rights you currently have).

Parental duties include things such as paying child support and providing for the physical well being of your child. The Court’s obligation is to ensure that measures taken are in the best interest of the child, and children need to be provided for, so a termination of parental rights does not necessarily terminate parental duties.

In other words, a parent’s decision to voluntarily give up his or her rights to visitation, etc., may not have any effect on his or her obligations to still provide for the child through child support.

You should speak to divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction for specific legal advice about the laws in your state. http://dadsdivorce.com/articles/child-support-and-termination-of-parental-rights/

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