I have a child with a woman who is married and we agreed to terminate my rights. I pay child support, the child does not know I exist. she believes the mothers husband is her father. I told her that if my rights aren't terminated, because I don't want to mess with the child's head, then I would take her to court for split custody. can I terminate my rights due to abandonment or is it likely I can receive partial custody? I'd rather terminate rights and let her be raised by who she thinks is her father. keep in mind she had another man sign the birth certificate, not me, and the child is nine years old.
1 Answer from Attorneys
There is no ability to simply terminate your parental rights, with a few exceptions. The primary one would be a step parent adoption. If the mother's husband adopted the child, your parental rights would be terminated in the process. You cannot simply terminate your right in order to terminate your responsiblity to pay child support.
As far a custody, you would need to file an action to establish a parenting plan (assuming you have signed a paternity affidavit). If the child has resided with the mother and you have had virtually no contact with the child, it is unlikely the court would take the child away from the family she is used to and place her with a father she does not know. The real issue becomes how much residential time you will have. Since it appears that she has no relationship with you, that would probably be phased in over time.