If you receive child support and the paying parent is threatening to revoke their parental rights to avoid payment, you should know that this is not legal. Tennessee courts will not allow biological parents to terminate their parental rights simply to avoid making child support payments. 

Parental rights are most often terminated in adoption cases. In other situations, a parent who is incapable of stability might have their rights voluntarily or involuntarily revoked. If a parent signs away their parental rights, they are no longer obligated to pay child support. But you cannot simply sign away your rights to avoid payment.

Terminating Parental Rights in Tennessee

Losing your rights as a parent means you no longer have any say in how your child is raised. You also lose any right to see them, speak to them, offer them guidance, and visit them. This includes holidays, birthdays, and special occasions because it is a complete separation of the child and parent.

The State of Tennessee recognizes fifteen possible grounds for terminating parental rights. Five of these grounds for termination include:

  1. The parent fails to visit the child or provide support.
  2. The parent exhibits substantial noncompliance with the DCS permanency plan.
  3. The parent has committed severe child abuse against ANY child.
  4. The parent is mentally incompetent to care for and supervise the child.
  5. The parent is putative and has failed to support, seek reasonable visitation with, or manifest an ability and willingness to take custody of their child.

You can read the full list here.

What Does Termination of Parental Rights Look Like?

Terminating a parent’s rights leads to total separation. The biological parent whose rights are terminated can no longer make any decisions regarding the child or how they are raised.

Additionally, the parent:

  • Loses the parent-child relationship
  • Loses the ability to have any amount of custody of the child 
  • Loses the right to contact, visit, or speak to the child in any way
  • Loses the right to deny the adoption of the child

Termination of Parental Rights and Child Support

If someone wants to sign away their parental rights, they must have judicial consent. That means that biological parents can’t simply declare that they’ve walked away from their parental rights. In Tennessee, a judge must approve the termination. 

Several different people might request that someone’s parental rights be terminated:

  • You may file to terminate the other parent’s rights
  • The other parent may file to terminate your rights
  • A licensed child placement agency might file to terminate a parent’s rights
  • A potential adoptive parent can file to terminate your parental rights
  • The child’s guardian may file to terminate a parent’s rights

In any of the circumstances above, if a parent’s rights are terminated, they are no longer responsible for court-mandated child support payments. However, a parent may not voluntarily offer to revoke their rights, particularly to avoid paying child support.  

Get Help From a Child Support Lawyer Today

Parental rights and child support are complicated matters. If you want to file for someone else’s parental rights to be terminated or are worried your own rights as a parent are being threatened, a family law attorney can fight for you. 

Contact Mandy Hancock Law today if you need assistance with divorce, custody, orders or protection, or any other area of family law. Our family lawyers will work tirelessly to achieve a favorable outcome that supports your best interest. We’ll be by your side every step of the way to help lighten the burden of your current situation.