parent with child

One of the primary responsibilities parents bear towards their offspring is to provide financial security. Parents are legally obligated to financially support their children until the age of emancipation unless they’ve reached an agreement to support them until after college or professional school. When parents split, the court will order that the non-custodial parent provide child support to provide financial support for the child’s basic needs. When an unfit parent threatens a child’s best interests, the court may terminate their parental rights. In such cases, parents wonder whether they are still obligated to pay child support. Please continue reading to learn whether you must continue paying child support if your parental rights are terminated and how our reliable Monmouth County Child Support Attorneys can help you understand your child support obligation in New Jersey. 

When are parental rights terminated?

In New Jersey, parental rights can be voluntarily or involuntarily terminated. The state assigns great importance to the bond between a parent and their child. However, the court may deem it necessary to terminate parental rights to safeguard a child’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being. The court prioritizes the protection of a child’s best interests. If the court determines that a parent is unfit, meaning they are putting their child in an unsafe or neglectful environment, the court can remove parental rights. However, before they do so, they will attempt to improve the conditions for the child. If this is not possible, the court will have no other options to protect the child’s welfare. It’s imperative to note that this is usually the court’s last resort.

Under certain circumstances, a parent may voluntarily waive their parental rights. For a parent to surrender their parental right, they will face several legal obstacles. If a parent wants to give up their parental rights, the court typically only allows it if the child is going to be adopted. Even if the court approves the voluntary termination of parental rights, the parent must complete certain paperwork and follow specific procedures to make it legally binding.

Will I have to pay child support if my parental rights are terminated in New Jersey?

When you sign your parental rights away, you relinquish all your rights toward your child. Essentially, you end your relationship with your child when you waive your rights or have them involuntarily terminated. Therefore, all legal obligations and responsibilities will cease, meaning you will no longer have the obligation to financially support your child. However, you must note that you cannot surrender your parental rights to avoid paying child support.

Child support can be a highly contentious issue for parents. As such, having the quality legal representation of an experienced attorney who can help you understand your child support obligation is vital. Contact Paone Zaleski & Murphy to discuss your child support case.