Child Support Payments and Termination of Parental Rights
Updated: Oct 17, 2022
You would think that losing parental rights would mean child support payments no longer need to be made, but I found an article where the Michigan Supreme Court has issued a unanimous opinion that states a loss of parental rights doesn’t necessarily mean a person can stop paying child support. The justices wrote in an opinion that even after a parent’s rights have been terminated, the law requires financial support unless a judge modifies or terminates the obligation.
The ruling was in an Oakland County case involving a father. The father, according to the court, had argued that his obligation to pay child support ended when his parental rights were terminated, and that any continued obligation to make payments violated his constitutional right to due process of law.
The father’s parental rights were terminated in May 2009 and his children were made temporary wards of the court. He was ordered to continue paying child support under the terms of the divorce judgment while the children were cared for by the grandmother.
Six justices stated that legislature has made a clear distinction between parental rights and the parental obligation to support a minor child. Nothing in the legal structure indicates that the termination of parental rights automatically results in the severance of the parental support duty.
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