Court Prohibits Child Support for Man Without Parental Rights

Every child needs the support of both parents. In the case of divorce, the financial needs of a child don't change from what they were when their parents were living together. To meet these needs, courts will award child support from the income of the non-custodial parent so both parents can share in the rights and responsibilities of caring for the child.

A man recently had a child support obligation for his daughter overturned by an appeals court. The man and his wife had a daughter. The wife filed for divorce, and a year later the Department of Health and Human Resources file an abuse and neglect complaint against the man. Pursuant to the complaint, a judge terminated the man's parental rights to his daughter. A few months later, the couple's divorce was finalized and the judge in that case imposed a child support obligation on the man for his daughter's support. The man states that his wife was aware of the termination of his parental rights and failed to appeal the ruling. A few months after the award of child support, the wife tried to hold the man in contempt for failing to make payments, which brought about the man's appeal of the award. The appeals court ruled that the family court must abide by the ruling of the court that terminated the man's parental rights.

When parents divorce, their children will typically live with one parent, the custodial parent, and have visitation with the other, the non-custodial parent. Child support is a payment by the non-custodial parent for the support of the children, since every child is entitled to be supported by both of their parents. The amount of child support awarded is based off of the child support guidelines in the state. The State of Georgia uses a shared income approach to make this determination. This approach utilizes a rate table to determine the amount necessary to meet the needs of a child. Then, numerous factors including both parent's incomes and costs of childcare and health insurance are taken into account to determine the amount required from the non-custodial parent for the support of the child.

There are many factors involved in determining a child support award and the steps involved can be complex. It is important that both parents are aware of their rights and obligations regarding child support.

Source: West Virginia Record, "With parental rights voided, man not subject to child support payments," John O'Brien, Mar. 4, 2013

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