We frequently receive telephone calls from prospective clients who want to voluntarily terminate their parental rights. What they often really desire is a termination of their child support obligation. Simply put, this is generally not possible and against public policy.
An individual cannot voluntarily terminate their parental rights. In Re: Matter of Jurga, 123 N.C.App. 91, 472 S.E.2d 223 (1996). A Consent Order or other document to that effect is void as a matter of law. Neither one parent nor both may unilaterally terminate parental rights. There must be grounds and there must be a court hearing to determine whether it is in the best interests of the minor child(ren).
While an individual can voluntarily consent to the adoption of his or her children, an adoption is void if it was in consideration for money (e.g., cancellation of a child support obligation). Stanly County Dept. of Social Services ex rel. Dennis v. Reeder, 127 N.C.App. 723, 493 S.E.2d 70 (1997). A valid adoption will terminate the parent’s rights and no future child support will be due but any past due child support will continued to be owed for the benefit of the minor child.