The Constitution has given parents the fundamental right to raise their children. When a court finds that a parent no longer has the right to raise their children, it is often devastating to the parent. After the court makes the determination that a parent is not fit to raise their children, the court may terminate parental rights to the child. The termination of a parent-child relationship is an incredibly drastic step the court can take, which affects both the parent and child. Because of the serious nature of the termination of parental rights, you should be equipped with a legal team that is experienced in termination of parental rights cases to provide you the best possible representation. Contact us online or call (248) 479-6200 for immediate assistance. We defend parents.
There are two general ways for a parent’s rights to be terminated. The termination can be voluntary or involuntary. A parent may voluntarily terminate their parental rights by signing a release through the court. An involuntary termination proceeding may be filed against the parent when a third party feels that the parent should no longer have the right to be involved in their child’s life. The Department of Human Services (DHS), Child Protective Services, a prosecuting attorney, the child, the child’s parent, and a guardian are some of the entities and individuals who may petition the court to terminate parental rights.
Defending Against the Department of Human Services
Even though terminating a parent’s right to raise their children can be a catastrophic event for a parent and child, DHS consistently asks the court to terminate parental rights. DHS has vast experience trying termination of parental right cases. It can be very intimidating for a parent to defend against DHS alone. The legal team at Kronzek & Cronkright defends parents in termination of parental rights cases regularly and is very experienced in defending against DHS actions. Don’t fight DHS alone, contact the legal team at Kronzek & Cronkright to help you defend against DHS.
Legal Requirements for Termination of Parental Rights
Because of the serious nature of terminating parental rights, there is a statutory requirement that must be met before the court can terminate parental rights. According to MCL 712.19(b), the court may terminate parental rights for several reasons, including the court finding that the child has been deserted; the child or a sibling of the child has suffered physical or sexual abuse; the parent has failed, without good cause, to support the child; the parent is imprisoned; or the parental rights to a sibling of the child have been terminated. The petitioning party is required to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that one or more of the statutory grounds have been met. It is important to have an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to carefully examine all of the evidence and witnesses presented against you as well as present a defense on your behalf.
Considering the Child’s Best Interest
Once the court finds that one of the many statutory requirements for terminating parental rights is met, a determination must be made that terminating parental rights is in the child’s best interest. When deciding if terminating parental rights is in the child’s best interest, the court considers many factors. These factors include the child’s bond to the parent, the parent’s parenting ability, the child’s need for a permanent and stable home, and the advantages of the child being placed in a foster home as opposed to the child remaining in the parent’s home. The court should weigh all of the evidence before making a decision to terminate parental rights. Further, if the parent has more than one child, the court must decide the best interests of each child individually.
If the court finds that the statutory requirement is met and that termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child, the court must order the termination of parental rights and that the parent cannot try to continue a parent-child relationship. Once parental rights have been terminated, that parent is no longer involved in the child’s life. This can be the most devastating news a parent can receive. Don’t wait until you have been ordered out of your child’s life to seek competent legal assistance.
Child Support Obligations
Even if a parent’s parental rights have been terminated, through either a voluntary or involuntary termination, the parent may still have to pay child support. A case arising out of Oakland County found that parental rights and the parent’s obligation to pay child support are two distinct issues. If your parental rights are terminated, you will need a separate judgment to end your child support obligations.
Appealing a Judgment Terminating Parental Rights
You do have an opportunity to appeal a court’s order terminating your parental rights. If your rights have been terminated, you must act quickly. A parent whose parental rights have been terminated has ONLY 14 days to appeal the decision. The appealing parent has the right to have an attorney throughout the appeal process.
Successfully appealing a judgment terminating parental rights to the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court is incredibly difficult. In the appeal process, you must act fast and take the appropriate steps in order to have a hearing. The appeal process is substantially different from the initial trial. It is important that you have an attorney who has experience appealing termination of parental rights cases. Although a successful appeal is difficult to obtain, a skilled and knowledgeable attorney can provide invaluable assistance throughout the appeal process.
Oakland County Termination of Parental Rights Lawyers
Whether you are faced with the decision to voluntarily terminate your parental rights or an involuntary termination proceeding has been filed against you, you should have a legal team that is experienced in termination of parental rights cases. The skilled attorneys at Kronzek & Cronkright, PLLC, have been defending parents for nearly two decades. When you are fighting to keep your parental rights, it is imperative that you have trusted and experienced attorneys on your side.
The termination of parental rights is, not only an incredibly complex area of the law, it is a very emotional and sensitive decision with permanent consequences. Don’t wait until you have lost your parental rights, contact Kronzek & Cronkright, PLLC to get the help you need.