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How a Parent Can Regain Their Rights After Losing Custody

Regaining custody is a complicated process that will likely require significant effort and help from legal counsel.

Can a parent regain custody after losing rights?

A parent can regain custody of their children even after losing their rights. However, it will require hard work to prove to the family court system that their circumstances have changed. It likely will require hiring a competent lawyer to assist in restoring custody.

Most courts will do everything possible to ensure children have a strong relationship with both parents

Why do parents lose rights?

If a parent loses custody rights to their children, it is likely because the presiding judge feels it is in the child’s best interests to be in another person’s care, whether it's the child’s other parent or another suitable guardian. This decision is not made lightly, as most courts will do everything possible to ensure children have contact with both parents. Revoking a parent’s custody rights is typically a last resort.

Situations that may lead to denied custody

The courts must have a profound and compelling reason to decide to deny a parent’s custody rights. Custody may be revoked if:

  • A parent is in jail or prison and cannot provide care.
  • A parent disobeys or violates a court-ordered parenting plan.
  • There is a loss of contact between a parent and the child.
  • A parent has a proven issue with ongoing substance abuse.
  • A parent engages in parental alienation or makes false claims about the other parent.
  • There is an accusation or conviction of child abuse, neglect, domestic violence, or mental illness.
  • The residence of a parent is deemed unsafe for a child.
  • A parent engages in parental kidnapping.
the judge will outline specific steps that a parent can take to regain custody rights

How to regain custody

It can seem like an uphill battle at first, but regaining custody rights is possible if a parent works to prove their case for restoration thoroughly and accurately. It is up to the parent who lost custody to confirm that they have resolved any outstanding issues and can provide comprehensive care for the child. Although there is no set approach to regaining custody rights, following these productive steps can contribute to a better chance.

Address the reason why custody was not granted

Because a judge delivers decisions based on the best interests of the child, there is often a reason why custody is not granted to a parent. To restore custodial rights, a parent must show that they have corrected the problems that led to the loss of their rights in the first place. There must be compelling evidence that it is in the child’s best interests for the courts to consider restoring a parent’s custody rights.

In some instances of a loss of custody, the judge will outline specific steps a parent can take to regain custody rights. These steps may include actions such as:

  • Completing an addiction treatment program
  • Taking parenting classes
  • Attending counseling sessions
  • Making home repairs
  • Moving to a new residence

Follow any court orders

When a judge renders their decision, they will outline specific rules for visitation, set hearing dates, and provide other details relevant to the decision. Parents must ensure they meet any outlined requirements as soon as possible, stick to court-ordered schedules for visitation, and attend all hearings and different appointments on time. Because these requests and conditions are established and enforced with the child’s best interests in mind, parents should refrain from arguing with the court over the validity of their requests and focus on following any set guidelines instead.

Work with a legal professional

Regaining custody can be complicated depending on your circumstances and state-specific requirements. Although you can represent yourself in family court, most experts highly recommend that a parent seek legal counsel. When looking for a lawyer, a parent should:

  • Ensure potential lawyers have experience with child custody
  • Seek recommendations from friends, family, or others
  • Check online directories for ratings, reviews, and other details
  • Contact the local bar association
  • Research potential attorney costs for custody cases
  • Interview potential candidates

Working with a lawyer helps ensure that a parent receives professional input and guidance for navigating the details of their case and any specific state requirements. A lawyer can also help a parent with:

  • Collecting and documenting evidence for court
  • Understanding court orders fully
  • Providing recommendations for future action
  • Navigating litigation in court hearings

Complete an in-home evaluation

Once a parent completes the required items outlined by the court, the judge may order that a custody evaluator conduct an in-home child custody evaluation. If a judge does not order an evaluation, either parent can request one. This evaluation is when a professional social worker evaluates parents and children involved in custody cases. The social worker will assess the parent’s interactions with their child and the home environment to determine if restoring custody rights is optimal for the child.

Additional elements of an evaluation include:

  • Interviews with teachers, friends, family members, and other people involved with either parent or the child
  • Health records
  • School report cards
  • Attendance records

Once an evaluation is complete, the custody evaluator will provide a report submitted to both parents and the court involved with the custody case. This report contains recommendations about:

  • Custody or visitation schedules
  • Potential family or individual therapy
  • Ways to handle future family conflicts
  • The effects of a parent’s issues on the child

How TalkingParents can help

The journey to regaining custody rights is demanding and can affect a parent’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By using a communication service like TalkingParents, co-parents can have confidence in knowing that their interactions are secure and documented. Features like Accountable Calling, Secure Messaging, and the Shared Calendar can help you keep everything related to co-parenting organized in one tool. All interactions are stored on an Unalterable Record, making it easier for co-parents to fully coordinate with their lawyers and potentially save money on attorney’s fees while working to regain custody.

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