Family Law Questions? Ask a Family Lawyer Online.
Hello. Unfortunately, you have very little rights to your children during the time period when the state has removed the children and placed them in foster or guardianship situation. If the relative has been appointed legal guardian, the relative makes 100% of the decisions regarding schooling, medical, etc. If the state has placed the child in foster care, then the child's social worker has these rights. During the time period where the child has been removed from the home to when the parent has been permitted to have their children returned to them, the parents only contact is that which is permitted by the courts. If you start trying to contact your wishes to your child's educators and/or doctors, then you can be held in contempt of court and possibly face criminal charges. You can communicate your food, educational and medical wishes to her current guardians who are the ones that will determine what happens to your child at this time.
If your parental rights are going to be terminated (meaning completely cut off and your child to be adopted by someone else) you do have the right to a court appointed attorney in that situation and the family court should arrange it for you. Other than that, if you are unable to afford an attorney, you can contact the family court clerk's office to ask for a referral to a local pro bono (free) or low cost legal clinic in your area for help.
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There is no hard and fast rule on every one of the points that you bring up here except that educational, medical and religious advisers do not have to speak to you if the current guardian refuses to let you do so, and the court has made no order contradicting that. Many items are items within the discretion of the court to oversee or not to oversee -- depending upon the reasons why the child is removed in the first place. If you ask the other parent to provide you with updates on the child's therapy and the other parent has sole legal and physical custody, then the other parent does not have to tell you anything unless he/she wants to share the information with you. You also have no rights to ask for specific religious ceremonies of the custodial parent .On all of these matters, you do have the right to petition the court for more input into your child's life and treatments -- up to a 50% legal custody which would permit you to participate equally in those decisions together with the custodial parent or guardian.
Every state has a procedure to terminate parental rights -- although most are reluctant to do so and attempt to try different methods to reunite the family before such drastic steps occure. REgarding constitutional challenges -- there have been many, and the current state of the law which is being imposed upon you and your family at this time is partly the result of some of those cases that have come before you and been heard. Ultimately, the government has the right to step in and act "in loco parentis" (in place of a parent) if the govt can show a court that the parent in question is not capable of caring for the child at this time. Orders such as these are subject to continuing review by the courts on the state's motion or your motions so that you are not deprived in full of your right to participate and raise your own children. The right to an attorney for cases where parental rights are about to be terminated was a constitutional challenge because the state was able to terminate the rights of parents who were otherwise unable to defend themselves because they could not afford an attorney -- the US supreme court found that it was a violation of parental due process (right to be heard) and deprivation of the pursuit of life, liberty & happioness to be deprived of the right to raise our children as we see fit -- so the court found that parents in such situations have the right to an attorney to defend against this drastic step by the state to completely sever parental rights to a child.
If your child suffers any abuses while in the custody of the state or foster care or other person appointed as guardian you have the right to sue them and the state for these lapses in care and custody, etc.
Hello again. It depends upon how much you are willing to pay for that attorney. Local county bar associations always have referral services to local attorneys who charge modest fees for their services -- you simply tell them what area of the law you are interested in and they can give you several referral sources in your area. Public interest groups you may be able to find through your local bar assn and courts or more than likely on the internet by performing searches such as "parent's rights CA" and the like. And in answer to your last question, I try not to take cases for money alone -- that is why I will never be rich and why I try to work in forums like Just Answer -- to offer up some legal insight and suggestions to persons who would not be able to afford to speak with a lawyer for a small fee -- I do ask that you press ACCEPT so I will be paid for this session (I am not paid a paycheck -- I earn money on a question only when the customer presses ACCEPT) ----- For every time a customer does not press accept and I am not paid, that is less time that I can spend in forums like this trying to assist people and more time that I must spend elsewhere to try to make up the difference in what I might lose herein on a monthly basis.
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