Can a Parent Restore His or Her Parental Rights if They’re Lost?

Every state in the country has laws that dictate the termination of parental rights. Termination is always weighed carefully to focus on what’s best for the child, and it’s a complex process that is irreversible in many cases. However, there are also statutes and procedures in place in some states to restore parental rights in specific circumstances.

Can a parent restore his or her parental rights if they’re lost? The answer to this question is complicated. It depends on individual circumstances and whether or not the state in which you live allows for reinstatement of parental rights.

In California, parental rights that have been terminated may be restored in certain circumstances. While all cases are reviewed and determined based on individual circumstances, there are some situations where restoration of parental rights may be the best option for the child and the parents. 

Why Parental Rights Are Terminated

Termination of parental rights is not done lightly. In most cases, termination of parental rights occurs when there has been serious child abuse or severe child neglect. Occasionally, parents may choose to terminate their own parental rights, but they must petition the courts to do this.

Ultimately, the termination of parental rights is done when it is in the child’s best interests. Typically, once parental rights have been terminated, the child will be placed in foster care or adopted. However, for some children, the foster system does not lead to adoption or the stability that the child needs.

The Best Interests of the Child

When determining whether or not to reinstate parental rights, the courts must determine whether it is in the child’s best interest. Some parents who lose their parental rights may never get them back, but for others, restoring the parental relationship may be what’s best for everyone involved, especially the child.

For children who are not likely to be adopted or aging out of foster care, the options for their future care may be limited. In some cases, it may be in the best interest of these children and adolescents for them to be reunited with their parents.

If parental rights have been terminated, but children are not likely to be adopted for some reason, a parent may have their parental rights reinstated if the courts determine that it is in the child’s best interest.

Restoring Parental Rights in California

In California, parents who wish to have their parental rights reinstated must prove that the child is better off with them than in the foster care system. Other criteria must be met before courts will consider reinstating parental rights.

  • Three years must have passed since parental rights were terminated.
  • If a child is deemed unlikely to be adopted, parental rights restoration may be considered.
  • If a child is younger than 12, the courts must factually identify that restoring parental rights is in the child’s best interests.

Older children aging out of the foster system or who are unlikely to be adopted may wish to restore their relationship with their parents. If the parent can prove that restoring their parental rights is the best option for the child, the courts may agree. But each case is reviewed on an individual basis, and proving that parental rights should be restored can be difficult.

Getting Parental Rights Restored

Losing parental rights can be painful for both parents and children. Parents who make an effort to improve themselves to better care for their children may still face having their rights terminated and lose access to their children.

In California, parental rights can only be restored if the child requests. Parents cannot petition to have their rights restored. A child or the child’s attorney can petition to have parental rights restored three or more years after the termination of parental rights.

While this process may have some parents feeling like their hands are tied, having a skilled and knowledgeable attorney advise them on the process can be invaluable. Family law attorneys can help parents navigate the complex process and help parents better understand the laws surrounding the restoration of parental rights.

Let Us Help You With Your Family Law Case

Matters of restoring parental rights are complicated and it is highly important that they be handled by an experienced family law attorney. You don’t have to navigate the legal challenges and the family court system alone. We have helped many people in your circumstances.

At Azemika & Azemika, we understand the complexities of state laws and the family court system. The issues that you are facing are emotionally, financially, and legally challenging. Our practice is exclusively devoted to the field of family law. As a result, we can handle cases involving divorce, dissolution of domestic partnerships, child custody, visitation, child and spousal support, paternity, abandonment, and adoptions. With efficiency and great attention to detail, our partners at Azemika & Azemika use our vast experience in family law to customize each case to our clients’ needs.

Contact us today for a consultation, and we will work with you to determine the best option for your future.

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