Did you know that, under certain circumstances, the state has the right to revoke your rights as a parent? If you feel that you are doing everything that you possibly can, it seems pretty wrong. What grounds does Louisiana use when determining if your parental rights should qualify for termination?
According to the Children's Bureau, there are several reasons for which the state may remove your rights from you. These generally include that you have a criminal conviction on your record, you have allegedly neglected or abused your child, you have a mental illness or substance abuse problem, you have failed to financially support your child or you have declined to stay in contact with your child.
What if these things are not true, but the child's other parent is telling the court that they are? Or, what if the state removed your child from your home and has made it difficult for you to keep in contact or otherwise support your child? What can you do?
Plan of action
If you wish to keep your parental rights, you may have a long legal battle in front of you. If you receive a notice saying that your rights as a parent are in jeopardy, showing up to your hearing and fighting is the best thing you can do. You have the right to have legal counsel present in order to represent you, which can prove helpful. If the state does ultimately terminate your rights, you have the ability to appeal the decision and file a reinstate petition.
The state must...
If the state terminated your parental rights but then decides you are eligible to have your rights restored, the state must inform you within 45 days of that decision. The state must also file a report with the court, giving information about the case and why you are now able to have your rights restored. The court will then schedule a hearing and will get to make the final decision in the case.
Do not go it alone
When fighting to keep your parental rights, you may feel alone and that the world is against you. That is not the case. You can seek legal support to assist you with your case and help you take all the right steps as you seek to keep your rights as a parent intact.