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Voluntary versus Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

There is an interesting post at Elusive Justice about a practice by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services involving parents who think they are voluntarily terminating their parental rights, but then have an involuntary termination entered against them. This may seem like an immaterial difference, but E.J. walks us through a hypothetical that shows the important ramifications of the practice.

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May 15, 2008 - Posted by | Civil Procedure, Family Law, Parenting | , , , , ,

47 Comments »

  1. I am looking to terminate my parental I do not rights, But I do not know where to get the paper work. Please help with any advice.

    Comment by daniel naderson | July 20, 2008 | Reply

  2. Is there a way that I can get forms from the state of washington to voluntary terminate my parental rights, If you can locate them through the the supreme court of washington that would be help full

    Comment by daniel | July 25, 2008 | Reply

  3. I would like to know please, what is the difference in voluntary to involuntary TPR of the parental rights
    I am trying to find out for my daughter. She has 4 little boys and was with the wrong man for two years she finally left him. But now they are telling her she has to give up her rights, and it would be better if she was not TPR and voluntary gave up. She would still be able to be in the little boys life.

    Comment by lillian | August 24, 2008 | Reply

  4. I am curious as to how I go about terminating my parental rights to my 2 year old daughter; not that this is what I want to do. But the mother refuses to let me see my daughter, in 2 years I have been able to see her maybe 3 times. I have taken her to court for visitations and when she refuses to abide by the court order I am told that I can not press charges or anything, the only thing I can do is hire a lawyer and take her back to court. I have spent more money than I have on a lawyer over this issue. She asked me if I would sign over all rights and I said yes. I am tired of fighting with her because it is costing me a ton of money just to end up right back where I started. I no longer have the money to afford a lawyer to do the paper work or point me in the right direction. So any advise on this issue would be very helpful! I’m in Lexington, KY; I’m not sure if the laws are different from state to state. Thanks in advance!

    Comment by EDB | August 28, 2008 | Reply

    • Can you tell me your outcome. My son was conned into giving up his parental rights. We have been told that it cannot be reversed. We have also been told that in KY he could only give up his rights if she was married and her husband was going to adopt. My son and the mother were officially engaged at the time of voluntary TPR. Were you able to give up your rights in Lexington?

      Comment by L.M.Durham | March 25, 2011 | Reply

  5. i live in georgia, and i wanted to know if i could go to the public library, and get the forms to sign my rights away to my children? i’m unable to work and pay child support, and the state is about to take me to jail, so this is my only option, i guess? will i still have to pay child support if i sign my rights away? please help

    Comment by richard palmer | September 8, 2008 | Reply

    • no court will allow you to terminate your rights because you cant or wont pay child support.they however will come and arrest you.

      Comment by debbie | September 22, 2010 | Reply

    • And you will still have to pay child support if you sign over your rights.

      Comment by jessica | January 10, 2012 | Reply

      • Actually, child support arrears still must be paid, but there should be no child support owed going forward from the date a termination of parental rights order is issued.

        Comment by G.A. Napier | February 6, 2012

  6. I was wondering if anyone knows why my husband still has to pay child support even though he voluntarily terminated his parental rights to a child in North Carolina.

    Comment by Carol | October 18, 2008 | Reply

    • First off – to ask why he is still paying is rude and wrong – even though he gave up his rights – that child still needs to eat ! I hope his child sees this post – it is his flesh and blood and if he made it – he should be paying for it to survive — stop being selfish – if you didnt want to pay for his baggage you should not have married him.

      Comment by Tore | January 12, 2010 | Reply

      • The child deserve love and it comes from both parents. A father does not need to pay child support to the mother to show or prove that he loves his kids. If it causes conflict and emotional pullings from both sides, why do it to your child. Flesh and blood yes, but his ex is not and he owes her nothing but a new start on life by herself…

        Comment by NO NAME | May 29, 2010

      • wow….sounds your a bitter single mom who’s ex is probably married to someone hotter than you.

        Comment by Jess | June 16, 2010

      • Child support is unconstitutional, You people that say “child support.” Its just a guise for money. If a noncustodial parent spends one penny for something like food or electric. How is that moral. Why should a nno-custodial parent profit? There getting the benefit. How is that moral. I, a man, has had custody of my daughter for several years and got very little child support. Someday America will pay for your unjust law.

        Comment by Robert T Scott | November 5, 2010

  7. Hello. I am engaged to a wonderful man who is very responsible and very well respected. He has long served our great country and still does. He is also a state trooper. He was involved with a woman who he did not know as well as he believed he did. Out of respect for him, myself and his other co-workers and friends kept her past problems from him. While this is not the right thing for a friend to do, we did not feel it was our responsibility. This woman already has a child by a man who she was not married to and who was a police officer. Everyone who knows the situation believes she played on the emotions of my now fiance. They split in late spring and about a month later she informed him she was expecting and the child was his. Being the trusting man he is, he did not question the paternity. However this woman has caused so many other men so much grief, we are concerned for our future, his job, and the child. This is not a girl who will make life peaceful. She without a doubt will go on with her old habits that she has carried on with so many others such as accusing him of awful things. She has bragged that she did this to trap him, she told him it was intentional. He and I both fear this will only make life for this child terrible to see mom and dad always fighting. I have spoken to him about this and he is very distraught. He believes there is no way he will ever feel any love for this child. It hurts him. He says how she was conceived was in dishonesty and he cannot seem to forgive her. Therefore, he doesn’t believe he can be a decent father at all. He keeps saying he wants nothing to do with the mother or the child. He was worried only of what others might think of his morality. Volutarily terminating his rights was brought up in a discussion we recently had. He is from Tennessee so he wasn’t familiar. We want more information if you can give any. We do not know where to start. I need to tell you, I have no preference. I want this child to have a peaceful life and seeing what kind of woman she is, she will not allow that to happen. She is already using the child as a bargaining chip. He feels betrayed and I believe it will be very harmful to everyone involved if he cannot terminate his rights. This has been a very terrible 8 months for him. Please help us. Thank you.

    Comment by JESSICA BAILEY | December 6, 2008 | Reply

    • You can contact me directly by calling 859-253-0991.

      Comment by elusivejustice | January 17, 2009 | Reply

    • he is right to worry about what others may think.i think he is disgusting,and so will the child he wants to throw away.if you want to see your child bad enough there is always a way.

      Comment by debbie | September 22, 2010 | Reply

    • My husband is going thru the same situation kind of he has been apart of his daughters all the way up until she was 4 years old she broke up with him and he got tired of her their relationship being off and on again and so he moved on with his life and to another state away from the controlling mother he wanted to still be in his daughters life but the mother filed for custody made up all sorts of lies and. Would let my husband see his daughter only if he was single and once we started dating she stopped all contact and made him feel bad all because she was jealous and couldn’t contol him anymore it’s a shame that mothers use their child to punish the father for their own bc selfish reasons

      Comment by auni | January 8, 2013 | Reply

  8. Am at wits end over this situation… adopted a child from Russia, was 10 months old, now 11 years. Now divorced from husband at time, child diagnosed with PDD, adhs, psycotic tendencies etc.. and had progressively goten more and more violent and threatening, ecalted to threatening to slit my throat this past week. Father of child claims to have no problems with child at his house. I am remarried, my biological daughter lives with us, as well as two younger stepsons. We are EXTREMELY worried for all our safety. I have, (and not with out remorse) decided that is is unsafe for my son to be in our homw. We all have locks on our bedroom doors, and have videoed his threats . He is completely defiant. I wam considering investigating terminating my parental rights, giving sole custody to his father. Our daughter (exs and mine ) lives full time with us, and we are financially supporting her without his help. I have shared custody with ex on both kids, as he does not have full time employment and did not want to pay child support. What are my options? I know this seems cold and heartless…but I am terrified of my son. He shows no remorse or concern for any of his actions, I am scared he will hurt one of our other children. Thank you.

    Comment by sharron | January 25, 2009 | Reply

  9. my husband is supposed to pay $400 a month childsupport to a child in kentucky. yet he is not able to see her. we cannot afford the childsupport so we have sent the most we can each week, which usually amounts to about fifty dollars week, but lately we cant afford it at all. in the last year we have been homeless three times, we have a 2 year old and an 11 year old and the 11 year old had to move in with his mother because we cant take care of her financially. my 2 year old has had to go wthout diapers before so that we could send what we could come up with to kentucky.but it’s not good enough! childsupport recovery is about to revoke his probation(which is due to nonpayment of childsupport) and they say he will go to jail for three years, the remainder of his probation! my husband wishes to terminate his rights so that he can stay at home with his pregnant wife, and baby instead of going to jail. but the mother of the child would never let him do that. does he need her permission to terminate his rights?

    Comment by miranda | June 10, 2009 | Reply

    • You should never marry a man that has baggage if you refuse to take on his baggage. No sympathy

      Comment by Tore | January 12, 2010 | Reply

      • that comment was very rude. im just wondering what baggage ur spouse married??

        Comment by kathy | April 20, 2010

      • well your a rude b**ch , just sayin..i hope your husband has baggage your a** dont wanna take on. Seems like some bitter B**ch needs punched in the face.

        Comment by real | April 29, 2011

      • YOU WRITE ALOT OF RUDE AND DISRESPECTFUL COMMENTS ON HERE NOONE THAT I HAVE SEEN POST ON HERE HAS ASKED FOR SMART REMARKS THIS IS FOR ADVICE NOT YOUR OPINION ON WHAT IS RIGHT OR WRONG
        MAY YOU HAVE A BLESSED DAY AND LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE . OH YEAH WHY ARE YOU ON THIS SITE OR PAGE ANY WAY IF NONE OF IT CONCERNS YOU OR MAYBE IT DOES AND YOU ARE GOING THROUGH THE SAME THINGS BUT WANT TO BELITTLE EVERYONE ELSE TO MAKE YOURSELF FEEL BETTER GET OVER IT

        Comment by Natashia Teal | June 17, 2013

    • so,let me see if i have this right.it is not ok for your child to go without but its fine if his child does.what would you be saying if the shoe was on the other foot.i bet you would be changing your tune real damn quick.and for your information he would have to have the mothers consent to terminate his rights and no court would approve it otherwise.tell him to grow up and take care of his child,its not just the moms responsibility.

      Comment by debbie | September 22, 2010 | Reply

      • Just another example of a noncustodial parent benefitting from child support. How many women benefit from child support? It makes me think about a scripture. The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violence take it by force. That scripture is a perfect example of child support. Throwing one parent into peverty while the other parent lives high off the hog uncer the guise of child support. America, you make me sick.

        Comment by Robert T Scott | November 5, 2010

      • People on here are very rude now look at it this way because of child support laws more and more women are getting pregnat just to get child support wemon are turning kids into there employer just so that they can sit on there lazy asses. if they want to suport their kid they should get up off their lazy asses and get a job and stop relying on a man to do it, especially if they are entraping men into it. Their are special situations where a man should not have to pay for child support and that is if he was forced into the situation because the woman was poking holes in the condoms or is taking a drug to get pregnant behind the mans back and if the mans rights are involuntarily taken. And why is it that women are so quick to jump to child support instead of allowing the father 50/50 custody and letting them suport the child when they are with him. How would you feel to be providing for the child when they are in your home and still dishing money out for the other parent to provide for that same child. Child support should only be given if the man straight up wants nothing to do with his child and wants to get out of his parental duties. stop dishing money out to women who are entraping men into child support.

        Comment by Casey Levingston | February 22, 2014

  10. My son’s father has not seen him since he was born and seems to take no interest in him at all. He pays no child support and the Child Support Office supposedly cannot find him. Right now I am seriously considering to terminate his parental rights. He lives out of state….How do I go about doing this??

    Comment by Amy | August 19, 2009 | Reply

    • Did you recieve any help with your situation? I am in the same position except he was involved until my sons first birthday and then completely disappeared. I want to terminate his rights but dont know how to go about doing this.

      Comment by Samantha | January 9, 2012 | Reply

  11. My husband’s ex-girlfriend receives almost $20,000 a year tax-free in support of their 6 yr old daughter, yet the mother has been arrested numerous times for violent assaults; has failed her drug tests; has been committed 6 times for psychiatric reasons; and has had another child (2) removed permanently for neglect. My husband and I are frustrated because we started full custody proceedings (after the mother consistently failed to show for visitation) and we repeatedly told social services that the mother was cohabiting with a recently-released-from-prison drug dealer,and that my stepdaughter was not attending school. (She misses approximately 60% of her days by her mother hopping from one location to another – 3 schools in one month, recently).

    Social services keeps telling us that they are keeping an eye on her while our custody proceedings drag on (mother has not attended 2 court dates since May, 2009, with no bench warrants issued) and they eventually lost my step-daughter. She hasn’t been seen alive by ANYONE since October 14 and so we finally complained to the state commissioner’s officer for social services; the next day we were assigned a court date (Nov. 17), but now social services says that since they can’t locate the mother, the state may opt to just terminate the case since they think the mother took my husband’s little girl out of state.

    What I want to know is:
    a) Since the mother has been, and still is, recieving $1500 a month in support administered through the state child support and also through my husband’s disability (he is a 100% combat-disabled US Marine), aren’t they responsible for helping us to find this little girl?
    b) Isn’t somebody responsible for the fact that no one has taken the mother before a judge for the child missing so much school? We have complained numerous times, by phone, in person, and in writing, about her missing so much school. KY law says that after 3 days a worker is supposed to contact the mother and after 6 days, court action may be taken.

    The mother gets all of her money electronically and then debits it from various locations, so we have asked that they require her to produce our step-daughter in person to make sure she is okay, but they have not done so. My husband and I are career professionals, own a nice clean home, have no drug/arrest issues, etc. and we can’t understand why the KY Cabinet is not taking more action to help our step-daughter when we are doing everything we can. The mother showed no apparent effort to get off of drugs after her 2 yr old (by another man) was removed, and our step-daughter moves every few months, plus does not keep the child in school, so we feel that the mother’s parental rights should be terminated under KY law.

    Can anybody out there offer suggestions? We have hired 2 lawyers and so far we haven’t gotten our court date because of the mother constantly being on the run. She was served properly last May, so we feel it is HER fault she misses court dates, and that this child should not suffer because the mother refuses to cooperate.

    Thank you.

    Comment by Patti | November 12, 2009 | Reply

  12. my husband was married and had a baby in that marriage. The wife cheated and they divorced.After a year or so his rights were terminated and he didn’t see the child nor pay support for the child in 5 years, then 3years ago the mother of the child went on welfare and his rights were reinstated and he was to start paying child support. we’ve been paying for the 3yrs now and have rarely gotten to see the child. its been 9mths since we last seen her, and she infact doesn’t want to see us. She has sent us text messages and such telling us how much she hates us and doesn’t want him to be a part of her life. is there anyway we can terminate his rights so we dont have to continue to pay support on a child who doesn’t want us tobe a part of her life?

    Comment by Jamie | December 17, 2009 | Reply

  13. I want to know how I can terminate the rights of my daughter’s father. She is three and we slit when she was one. He has only seen her a couple of times since then. The child support agency can not find him and he is very far behind. I live in North Carolina.

    Comment by kelly | December 31, 2009 | Reply

  14. i live in georgia but my child lives in kentucky. i never get to see her, in fact i’ve only seen her once and she’s 4. i cannot afford to visit her because of the distance. i have four other children here in ga and i cannot keep going to jail for child support i cannot pay. i’ve been homeless for the past year or so and i would like to know if there is any way i can sign away my parental rights away so i can stay out of jail to be here for my other children if the mother of the child in kentucky doesnt want me to be able to.

    Comment by mdb | February 3, 2010 | Reply

    • no you cant sign away your rights without the moms consent.you will stay out of jail when you pay your child support.you owe support to this child just as much as your other children.also,even if she did agree no court will let you terminate your rights to get out of paying child support.

      Comment by debbie | September 22, 2010 | Reply

  15. i live in nc and i want to sign my parental rights over to the mother of my child. she is wanting me to also. my child is not wanting to say in my home anymore and wants to be with her mother. i have a set schedule to get my daughter and have returned her for weeks early because she does not want to be with me and is very unhappy and out of control..we are wanting to know if we can file our own document to sign over my parental rights fully to the mother without a lawyer. we have heard you could and you couldnt. i would like some advise please. thank you

    Comment by chad | October 25, 2010 | Reply

  16. What procedure would i have to take to sign my parental rights away? i am the father. the mother is willing to let me see my daughter, but my daughter does not want to see me.

    Comment by johnson eiler jr. | December 16, 2010 | Reply

  17. i live in nc and i want to sign my parental rights over to the mother of my child. she is wanting me to also. my child is not wanting to stay in my home anymore and wants to be with her mother. i have a set schedule to get my daughter and have returned her for weeks early because she does not want to be with me and is very unhappy and out of control..This started in October of 2010 and my daughter has not been back for visitation since then. Doesnt want to talk to me on the phone or have any contact with me. All I want is for her to be happy and that doesnt include me. We are wanting to know if we can file our own document to sign over my parental rights fully to the mother without a lawyer. we have heard you could and you couldnt. i would like some advise please. thank you

    Comment by chad | April 30, 2011 | Reply

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  19. I am a 21 year old woman, married with a two year old child. I haven’t had my daughter since she was three months old, they took her after my huband left for war in Afghanistan 09; I hadn’t left my daughters side for two months straight. My friend asked me to come stay with her for the night, and that we could hang out and catch up, i felt uneased about the situation but i found a baby sitter; i thought maybe i deserved to have one night it would be ok. My world then crumbled before me, and i lost her becaue the baby sitter said i didn’t come back for her. I don’t know the law very well, and they asked to come into my house. I asked them, if they needed some kind of warrent or something before i let them in my house; because i didn’t think they could just come in and look around. Technically i hadn’t been charged with anything, so i said i didn’t want to, they told me that if i let them in i would be allowed to have my daughter back the next morning. Me being young and gullable cost me my whole life, they still today havent given me my daughter back. When we were stable they made excuses after excuses why they can’t give her home to us even if they lied. Then i got appointed a lawyer because i can’t afford one, and he hasn’t really done anything here in ky; they don’t do anything but get the case pushed farther out just so they can adopt children out to get money. I had everything done on my case plan, then they would continue to add things; like 375 dollar classes and counseling that isn’t cheap either. We would finish classes and tehn get told we would have to do more, is there any way we can fight this? Its a nightmare and we’re on the verge of loosing our daughter to the state, can we volantarily give our rights up and do we have any rights to choose who adopts her? My husbands sister, just recently got her, in the state of CA but she already can barely support her, her husband, and there four children. THe foster parents who she was with, they were excellent to her and thats who we feel should get her but i don’t know if its to late; no one is telling us anything. can you please help?

    Comment by unknown | May 23, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi, I just read this a few minutes ago; I live in Kentucky and the very same situation has happened to me. I had my hopes up thinking I would get my girls back but they kept adding more things for me to do, causing the case to drag for six years. My rights were terminated in 2009 and since then I’ve wondered if there’s anything I can do in order to get them back, but I feel since my rights had been terminated, there’s nothing more can be done.

      Comment by Brenda | September 19, 2012 | Reply

  20. I have a 2 year old daughter whom I have to share with my ex husbands EX girlfriend and her mother- my ex husband wanted very little to do with my daughter until he met his “new found glory”, once they started getting her, his now ex girlfriend took solely care of her. Once she found out how he was she left him, my daughter had already became attached to the woman & her family and I felt it would have done more harm than good if I ripped her out of their lives, but my ex husband only wants to see our daughter when he knows his ex girlfriend has her, in attempts to try to get back with her. His neighbors, friends, co-workers and even family admitted he lacks parenting skills and disciplines her via “spankings” and screaming, when not needed. I am now re-married and my daughter is super attached to my husband, she screams and pitches a fit when I very seldom do drop her off with her “daddy”. My husband and I have tried to make my ex’s life easy and give him what he wants, when he wants it because he’s too much to deal with if not. We cannot make plans to go anywhere because he always pops up last minute (like the day of) and says he wants to spend time with her. (we didn’t even get to have a honeymoon b/c he decided he wanted to get her) He has threatened court so many times I have begged him to take me. Our home is very clean, we never have friends over, she has her own room, plenty of food to eat and takes baths and brushes her teeth and hair, where as to when she is at his house has none of that and he refuses to bathe her and brush her teeth and hair because (quote) “She’s a girl and I’m a guy and I don’t feel comfortable washing her ‘tu-tu”. He is a convicted felon on a drug charge and his probation officer doesn’t even know he is not living in the same town, much less county. It has been witnessed him having “crushed pills” on the living room end table along with female under garments thrown all over the house and empty beer bottles while my daughter was in his “care”. He gets her on saturdays and keeps her until sunday but sunday he finds a baby sitter so he can go play frisbee or tag football with friends. It is obvious he does not care for her like a parent should and only wants to see her because it makes him popular with women. What are my options? Although he threatens me in court, it will never happen because he doesn’t have the money. Which, neither do my husband and I. What can I do, for reasonable price, to get his rights revoked? He does pay child support, but I did not order it. My daughter has medicaid and DFACS demanded him to pay child support. We do not need nor want his money, I’ve tried dropping the child support case but, as low as it sounds, that is the only thing I have riding over his head. He said he wanted to sign all rights over before he met his now ex girlfriend, then she changed his mind. This woman, her family, close friends and even co-workers of them both said they would back me in whatever way possible to get his rights taken away, we are at a loss on how to do so. If someone could please help me I would be greatly appreciative.

    Comment by Jessica | August 27, 2011 | Reply

    • take him to court. you don’t have to have a lawyer. it he doesn’t show up or gets the hearing continued they’ll most likely give you whatever you want. and since you’re remarried you can get your husband to adopt your daughter and they’ll take your ex’s rights away no problem

      Comment by rachel | March 10, 2012 | Reply

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  22. I am in the military, and whle i cannot talk about the particulars my job forces me to be out of the country more than 6 months out of the ear, and the rest of the time in an intense training envirment. My wife and I have two kids who i dont get to see enough as it is. then about 6 months ago a I am served with papers stationg i need to give a paternity test. end result is i have a 3 yr old boy, who i now owe back child support to and almos a quarter of my paycheck to each month. I live across thecountry from the little guy and it would only mess his world up to introduce this straner to him and say come live with me. what difference could i really make in his life in the 2 weeks or less i would get to see him. I do not want to be just a paycheck to him or a face or personality on a computer screen. His mother wll not let me haveany sa in his life, and i feel my hands are tied and his life is much better off. He lives in washington state and I live in nc. Can i sign over right? i know it doesnt take away the child support but I am sure i can get the mother to agree to less child support if i sign over rights in order to better support my family as well. please help and understand that i am not dodging my responsibility just be realistic

    Comment by andrew mackay | May 24, 2012 | Reply

  23. I have a 20 year old son that is autistic and has been determind a minor in perpetuity by the court and as such I am to pay child support. He draws a social security check, he lives with his mother. I have not had but 2 visits with him in the past 9 years. I am still obligated to pay support. Is it possible to sever the rights as a parent now that he is chronologically an adult? Or is this something that I will have to deal with for a lifetime? Since I do not get to see him (he lives less than 2 miles away) and his mother refuses visitation, I feel that I have been denied my rights a a parent. If I have no rights as a parent why can I not sever my parental rights?

    Comment by Blane | August 2, 2012 | Reply

  24. After reading some of the comments about child support on here, I feel the need to express my feelings on child support. I have two children that I have raised without child support…not because the father won’t pay, but because I feel that my kids are not a paycheck. If he wants to support them he pays half of their activities, school supplies and things of that nature. I never understood why so many mother’s view their kids as a paycheck or a pawn in a chess game. That being said, I found this website hoping for some insight on how to help with my husband’s situation, you know the same old song and dance of crazy scorned woman, had a kid, her kid is now a paycheck and part of a strategic game. Some people don’t deserve to be parents, much less receive a “paycheck” for their child. I would never say the things to someone looking for help that some of you have put on here, but I guess the ones that put up all those nasty comments are the people that use their kids for exacting some kind of sick revenge on their ex. I agree that in some situations the father or mother that is paying and not seeing their child, should be able to terminate rights or at least child support. Because the parent receiving child support gets to see that child all the time, so why shouldn’t the noncustodial parent have the same right to see that child at least half the time? Some people are impossible to deal with and there is no fighting them, because in the end you lose everything…and they gain everything, including that child you love and fight for. These parents that can’t see their children, and can’t live because of child support, where is their advocate? Where is the justice for them? They have every right to see that child and get to know that child, but because of stupid ignorant, petty people, they will never get that chance.

    Comment by Nikki von Nostitz | October 24, 2012 | Reply

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    Comment by pole campingowe | November 13, 2012 | Reply


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