Child Support

questions & answers

Question: My husband wants to adopt my 4 year old daughter who's father abandoned her from day 1. Is there a way to have her biological father ordered to pay back child support for the 4 years and to be able to terminate his rights so my husband can adopt her? Or will I only be able to do the termination and adoption?

Answer: To answer your question pertaining to back pay of child support, Arizona law holds that the natural parents are legally obligated to financially support their children. A.R.S. § 12-2451(A); Barrett Barrett, 44 Ariz. 509, 39 P.2d 621 (1934). On this basis, the Supreme Court of Arizona has held that if a natural parent abdicates his or her parental duties, and another individual financially supports the child, the law implies a promise by the irresponsible natural parent to reimburse the individual responsible for providing necessaries to the child (Anonymous Wife v. Anonymous Husband, 153 Ariz. 573 (1987) citing Watkins v. Medical & Dental Finance Bureau, Inc., 101 Ariz. 580, 422 P.2d 696 (1967); Barrett, 44 Ariz. at 509, 39 P.2d at 625). The Supreme Court of Arizona also held that the natural father is legally obligated to reimburse the individual for monies expended in furnishing necessaries to the child so long as the claim is instituted throughout the child's minority. (Id, quoting State v. Nerini, 61 Ariz. 503, 151 P.2d 983 (1944); State v. Christensen, 19 Ariz. App. 479, 508 P.2d 366 (1973)). To answer your question pertaining to terminating the natural father's rights to the child, the natural father's consent is needed for your child to be adopted. If there are any disputes about the adoption, if the natural father cannot be contacted, or denies paternity, then his consent is not required for adoption though he will be contacted about the adoption process should his whereabouts be known. Mediation or counseling may also be helpful to bring the parties to an agreement. For assistance in locating an attorney with whom to discuss your specific situation, please feel free to visit the AZ State Bar at www.azbar.org.

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QUESTIONS

  • My husband wants to adopt my 4 year old daughter who's father abandoned her from day 1. Is there a way to have her biological father ordered to pay back child support for the 4 years and to be able to terminate his rights so my husband can adopt her? Or will I only be able to do the termination and adoption?

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