Estoppel Is No Longer a Defense to a Child Support Enforcement Proceeding
Texas Supreme Court ruling in 2013:
A father and mother agreed that the father’s child support obligation would cease if he voluntarily relinquished his parental rights. The father signed an affidavit of relinquishment, but the mother never filed the affidavit with the court. Nine years later, the OAG sought to modify the father’s child support and confirm arrearages. On appeal, the father argued the OAG was estopped from seeking child support because the mother led him to believe his parental rights were terminated. The Supreme Court held that although the father and mother had an agreement, the agreement did not override his duty to support the child.
What does this all this legalese mean to you if you are a father paying child support and you and the mom have agreed that you will relinquish your rights? It means that you should have a lawyer advising you, to insure that the right documents are being filed in the right place at the right time so that years later you don’t suddenly learn that you owe a large child support arrearage when you thought you were done. Sometimes people will be penny-wise and pound-foolish. It’s cheaper in the long run to hire a lawyer than try to it right the first time than to try to correct it later.