Can You Give Up Custody to Avoid Paying Child Support?

A child support lawyer provides assistance in understanding the laws related to the support of children in Arizona. Under Arizona’s standard guidelines for child support, the amount of support that one parent must pay to another is determined based on factors including the number of children shared by the parents, the income and financial obligations of each parent, and the amount of time each parent spends with the children in his or her care. 

Singer Pistiner, P.C. can provide help to parents in understanding how Arizona’s child support rules work. Our legal team offers personalized advice specific to your situation. One question that sometimes arises among parents is whether it is possible to avoid paying support by choosing not to be involved in the child’s life. A child support lawyer at our firm can provide you insight into this question and can help you to address other issues that arise in relation to support.

Can You Avoid Child Support By Giving Up Custody?

Under Arizona’s laws, parents typically cannot avoid their obligation to support their children, even if they give up custody of the kids. Parents who do not choose to have custody or who do not have involvement with the lives of their children will still be expected to pay support and can face legal consequences for a failure to pay as required.

The only time a parent can be absolved of the obligation to pay child support for a child is if the parent’s parental rights are terminated. This can happen, for example, in the case of stepparent adoption when a stepparent wants to adopt a child and the biological parent signs off on relinquishing his or her rights so the stepparent adoption can go through. Parental rights can be terminated in limited other circumstances outside of the context of adoption, but the court will typically not terminate someone’s parental rights just because that person does not wish to pay child support.

It is also important to realize that even if the parents come to an agreement that one parent won’t pay support, this may not be enforceable. For example, if mom wants full custody and dad does not want to pay support, the two parents may try to agree that the the mother will take the children in exchange for giving up her right to support.

The courts and the state of Arizona typically will not allow this type of agreement to go forward, though. In fact, even if the mother does not pursue a claim of child support for herself, the state could still try to make the other parent pay, especially if the child is in need of any kind of pubic benefit.

Parents should also be aware that they cannot waive a child’s right to support in a premarital agreement either. If parents try to enter into a premarital contract in which either parent relinquishes custody rights or relinquishes support rights, these clauses are typically not going to be enforced at the time when the marriage ends.

Regardless of the wishes of the parents, the state believes it is sound public policy and it is in the best interests of the child to be able to receive support from both parents. This is why the state makes it difficult to be absolved of an obligation to pay child support, even if parents would prefer to give up their support obligations in exchange for giving up their custody rights. The standard guidelines will be used to determine support, even over parental objections, unless there is a reason for deviation from these guidelines.

Getting Help from A Child Support Lawyer

A child support lawyer at Singer Pistiner, P.C. will offer the personalized help and support that you need to make smart choices about protecting your children and your financial situation. We can work closely with you to get the support that you need if you are a custodial parent and to make sure that the support you are obligated to pay is reasonable and fair if you are the parent who must provide support.

To find out more about how child support laws work in Arizona, download our free divorce guide. You can also give us a call at (480) 418-7011 or contact us online to talk with an attorney at our firm about the help we can provide to you.

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