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Money Wanted, Dead or Alive
November 1, 2009 permalink
West Virginia has ruled that parents whose rights to their children are terminated must continue to pay child support. Aside from the outrage that this requires victims of theft to pay the thieves, it has some severe operational problems. After termination of rights, the child is not a legal member of the real parent's family, so the parents are not entitled to notice when the child is adopted or when the child dies  , and even if they find out, they cannot claim the child's body for burial or attend the funeral.   . The Toronto-based father's organization FACT has found cases in which a father paying long-term child support found out that his ex-wife had been dead for several years. In West Virginia (and many other places using the same punitive procedure) a few parents will be paying years of support for dead children.
October 31, 2009
Parents who give up rights still must pay, state Supreme Court rules
Abusive and neglectful mothers and fathers who relinquish their parental rights are still obligated to pay child support, according to the West Virginia Supreme Court.
By The Associated Press
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Abusive and neglectful mothers and fathers who relinquish their parental rights are still obligated to pay child support, according to the West Virginia Supreme Court.
The best interests of the child are always tantamount in such cases, the court said in Thursday's ruling.
"Child support obligations are not only responsibilities parents owe to their children, they are also rights which belong to children,'' the high court said after reviewing two lower court cases in which two Harrison County circuit judges drew opposing conclusions.
In both cases, the fathers argued that their responsibility to pay child support ended when their parental rights were terminated. They pointed to a 2006 amendment to state law in which the language "guardianship rights and/or responsibilities'' was changed to "guardianship rights and responsibilities.''
The Supreme Court disagreed. Had lawmakers intended to eliminate parents' financial obligation to their children, justices said, they would have "done so explicitly and clearly, rather than simply removing the word 'or' from W.Va. Code.''
The state's child welfare law clearly shows lawmakers' primary interest is in assuring the best interests of the child, the court said.
"As this court has frequently emphasized, the best interest of the child is the polar star by which all matters affecting children must be guided.''
Therefore, absent adoption, the obligation to support a child remains with the natural parents.
Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail