Written By: Lenorae C. Atter, Florida Family Law Attorney
In Jacksonville, Florida, as a family law attorney, I receive questions about terminating parental rights. This is not an easy process since there are many protections in place for parents. I will probably do a series of blogs on this topic in order to cover each area, but we will start with the consent and agreement of both parties.
If a parent would like to terminate his/her parental rights, then there are certain things that must be in place. The following would be required:
1. There is another person to take the role of mother/father both emotionally and financially.
2. The parent is doing so knowingly with full understanding and willfully.
3. The termination is in the best interest of the child.
If these things are met, then the Court may grant termination of parental rights. The difficulty is, this does not alleviate child support that may be due from years of nonpayment. If a parent owes child support arrearages (back child support), then the termination of their rights does not alleviate or diminish the back child support to be paid.
The only time that can go away is if the other parent (non-terminating) is willing to forgive any and all arrearage. However, if the payments were through the state’s Department of Revenue, then even agreeing does not end the State’s interest in collecting that money on behalf of the Child.
If this is something that you are interested in pursuing, it is best to work with an attorney on this matter whether your are the one terminating or the one requesting termination.