Can I relinquish my parental rights?

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Question:

I am the father of a 17-year-old girl. Over the years she has refused to see me or spend time with me -- but always expects birthday and Christmas presents on top of the child support that I already pay. Now they're trying to get me back into court to pay more child support as well as college tuition, which I can't afford. Can I relinquish my parental rights and be done with all this?

Answer:

If it were that easy, I bet there'd be busloads of teenagers sent packing by their parents every year. But once you create a baby, you are responsible for the care, feeding, and support of that child until it gets married or reaches the age of majority. It matters not whether this is an adoring child who sends you a Father's Day card every June or one who will have nothing to do with you.

The age of majority varies from state to state, between ages 18 and 21. If the age of majority is 18 in your state, you will probably escape responsibility for college tuition. If it is 21, however, you may well be ordered to pay.

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