Parents occupy a special position with respect to their children. This special relationship is recognized by law and protected through the medium of parental rights. Parental rights are the power vested in parents to exercise responsibilities in caring for their child. The law allows a parent to make decisions regarding their child until they reach the age of 18.
Issues relating to parental rights often occur in divorce cases, although sometimes they exist outside of these cases. As such, persons going through a divorce are often desirous of understanding their rights and responsibilities as parents. Outside of divorce issues, there are instances where the rights of parents may be violated by a person or even state law.
If your parental rights are being threatened or violated in any manner, a Detroit family law attorney can help. Attorney Allison Folmar is an experienced family law attorney practicing in Detroit, MI. She has assisted countless families with understanding their parental rights and taking action to enforce these rights when threatened.
If you are experiencing a situation where your parental rights are under attack, Attorney Allison Folmar can help. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation phone consultation.
The Law on Parental Rights in Michigan
Parental rights are human rights. Attorney Folmar likes to view and explain the subject through important constitutional provisions on rights and freedoms. This is because the constitution ultimately makes provisions for the rights and duties of individuals to society. They generally fall under the rights of a person to a private and family life.
A common question that arises when parental rights are being discussed is how they can be assumed. Common ways of assuming parental rights or responsibility include;
- By marriage
- By Order of Court
- By agreement between parents in a Parental Responsibility Agreement.
This also involves unmarried parents, especially fathers including acknowledging fathers and unmarried fathers.
Under Michigan law, Unmarried fathers may claim paternity at any time before or after the birth of the child. This is done by filing a notice of intent to claim paternity through an attorney. However, until the father obtains a court order on custody, the custody of the child remains with the mother. This also has bearing on the parental rights of the unmarried father because the mother in this instance exercises the bulk of those rights. Some of the rights vested in parents under federal laws include:
The Right to Make Decisions About Your Child
Raising a child is a product of decisions that can be routine or non-routine. The Constitution protects your right as a parent to make these decisions as long as they are legitimate and in the best interests of the child.
Sometimes, even state laws can be held to be in violation of this right. For example, a law imposing compulsory public education on your kids may violate your right to home school that child. A similar case occurred in Wisconsin where a father challenged the compulsory education law that prevented him from taking his children out of school to homeschool them under Amish customs.
The gender of the parents used to be a decisive factor in some parental rights cases, especially child custody. This meant that mothers usually received custody at the expense of the father. In some instances too, decisions bordering on the child used to be influenced by gender roles. But this position has been changed as courts now primarily focus on the best interest of the child. Autonomous decision making regarding non-routine activities is also usually frowned upon by the courts.
The Right to Raise your Child as you Choose
Similar to the right to make decisions about your child is the right to raise your child as you choose. Issues relating to this right usually occur in relation to public education and the right of the child to education. The fundamental right to education includes what type of education you choose to give your child. Attorney Allison Folmar can help you enforce your right to choose reasonable alternatives to public education for your child.
The United States Constitution expressly provides for the right of the parent to establish a family and receive protection on behalf of the child. Thus, you can take your child out of public school to private or other institutions without undue interferences. Courts across the United States have also enforced this right over statutes restricting them. In fact, as far back as 1925, a court in Oregon held that it was not within the competence of the state to restrict such rights.
If you have been prevented from exercising this constitutional right, Attorney Allison can help you.
Rights of Parents of Children with Special needs
There are also special rights vested in parents of children with special needs or suffering from some disabilities. Chief among these rights is the right to continue parenting the child with special needs. This is sometimes also considered as responsibilities or legal obligations. Parents of special needs children can continue to care for such children even when they pass the majority age of 18.
How Your Parental Rights May Be Threatened
While parental rights are protected under various laws, including the US Constitution, they can still be threatened in many circumstances. These include the following:
Cases of Abuse or Neglect
One of the main instances in which Parental Rights may be lost is when evidence of child abuse, neglect, or endangerment is found and proven by the CPS. Statistics show that over 2000 children are removed from their families every 3 days. If such an allegation is brought against a parent and CPS finds supporting evidence, a criminal charge may await.
Sometimes, depending on the severity of the case and evidence found, a child may be taken from his/her parents, even before completion of the case. At that point, your parental rights may be limited. Other times, the court may decide the case first and then make an order terminating parental rights.
The biggest threat to your parental right is Child Protective Services. Reports have shown that of every 6 allegations of abuse and neglect investigated by the CPS, 5 are unsubstantiated or unfounded. If CPS is involved with your family, your right as a parent may be under threat of suspension or termination.
Negative Laws or Coercive State Intervention
State legislatures have the power to make laws to be enforced within the state. However, sometimes these laws are found to be inconsistent with the federal and even state constitution, especially when it concerns human rights. One of the greatest threats to parental rights in the United States is negative state laws and the illegal enforcement of them. These encroach on the reciprocal rights of the child and parent to stay together as a family
The good news is that these laws can be challenged either before their passage or after they have been passed. Parents have in times past applied to the court to enforce their parental rights as against the threats posed by state limitations.
In the exercise of your parental rights, you may have faced discrimination of some kind. These are threats to the exercise of your rights as a parent over your child. Discrimination based upon race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability is prohibited under the law. You may need to consult a well versed and experienced Metro Detroit parental rights attorney to explain the legal ramifications and how you can enforce and take back your parental rights.
Allison Folmar Can Help You
Are you facing threats to your rights as a parent regarding your children? Attorney Allison Folmar can help pursue your case to a positive conclusion. Reach out today to schedule a consultation on your case.