Can a parent regain custody after losing rights?
Yes, a parent can regain custody of his or her children even after previously losing custody rights. However, it will require hard work by the parent to prove to the family court system that his or her circumstances have changed. It likely will require hiring a competent lawyer to assist in the fight.
Why do parents lose rights?
If a parent loses custody rights to their children, it means that a judge feels that it in the best interests of the child to be in another person’s care. This decision is not made lightly. Most courts will do everything possible to ensure children have a strong relationship with both parents.
The courts must have a serious and compelling reason to make this decision.
Situations That May Prevent a Parent from Being Denied Custody
- Jail time: If one parent is in jail or prison, they cannot provide a home or care for the child.
- Abuse issues: Ongoing drug or alcohol abuse, an accusation or conviction of child abuse or neglect, domestic violence, or another mental health issue may raise concern.
- Environmental concerns: A parent’s home may be deemed unsafe for a child.
Steps to take to regain custody
It is up to the parent who lost custody to prove that their circumstances have changed. They will need to show that they have corrected the problems that led to the loss of custody in the first place. There must be compelling evidence that it is in the best interests of the child for the restoration of a parent's custody rights.
Sometimes in a loss of custody case, the judge will outline specific steps that a parent can take to regain custody rights. This may include actions such as:
- Completing an addiction treatment program.
- Taking parenting classes.
- Attending counseling sessions.
- Repairing your home or moving to a new residence.
There often are time limits on completing these activities, so the parent should not delay. Do not spend time arguing with the court over the validity of their requests. Just do it. The parent needs to be on-time to every hearing the court sets and comply entirely with any visitation parameters.
An in-home child custody evaluation, possibly with child protective services, also will have to occur once the parent has completed any required items by the court. This evaluation is when a professional social worker evaluates the parent. The social worker will assess the parent’s interactions with the child, and the home environment to determine if restoration of custody rights is optimal for the child.
Regaining custody is a complicated process, and most experts highly recommend that a parent in this situation seek legal counsel.