Regaining Parental Rights in a Family Court in California

By Beverly Bird

Your odds of regaining terminated parental rights in California depend a great deal on why you lost them. California won't terminate your rights because your ex wants you out of your child's life, or because you've agreed to give them up in exchange for not paying child support. You generally can't surrender your rights voluntarily, except to pave the way for your child's adoption, such as if his other parent has married or remarried and her spouse wants to adopt him. However, if you’ve abused or neglected your child, California will terminate your rights if the court feels harm may come to him if he remains with you.

Termination Due to Abuse or Neglect

If social services steps in and removes your child from your care due to abuse or neglect, California’s juvenile court will oversee the legal process. The court usually places your child in foster care or with a relative. The court then holds a hearing to determine whether to make that situation permanent and terminate your parental rights. Termination is not immediate. You’re given a period of time in which to repair the situation. If you’re successful, the court returns your child to you. If you’re not successful, the court terminates your parental rights and clears your child for adoption.

2005 Legislation

California enacted Assembly Bill 519 in January 2005 to provide a way for the restoration of parental rights after termination for abuse or neglect. However, the law is stringent. It applies only if no one adopted your child after the juvenile court terminated your rights. In this case, your child can petition the court to restore your rights. The law does not allow you to do so. Your child must inform his social worker or foster parent that this is his wish within three years of the court order terminating your relationship.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Factors

If you’ve rectified the situation that led to termination of your rights, and if the court determines it’s in your child’s best interests to reunite with you, the court might approve your child’s request. If he’s older than 12, he has the right to attend the court hearing terminating your rights and to object. In this case, the court will most likely allow you to take steps to improve and fix the situation that led to his removal. However, the court usually awards visitation during this process, as long as the judge feels that contact with you would not endanger your child. If you make use of this visitation and maintain an active and loving relationship with your child, this works in your favor.

Adoption

After your child is legally adopted, there’s usually nothing you can do to reverse that situation and regain your rights. In both stepparent adoptions and adoptions ordered and approved through California’s juvenile court, the order of adoption begins a new life for your child and you can’t undo that. However, in stepparent adoptions, you have the right to object to the termination of your rights and to the adoption before it goes through. These actions take place in family court and a judge generally only terminates a parent’s rights, against his wishes, in such situations if he has failed to maintain a relationship with his child and has neglected to support him financially for an extended period of time. Family Court Services will investigate the situation and make a report to the judge before the judge makes a decision.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
The Fastest Way to Restore Visitation if Denied in Missouri

References

Related articles

Reasons to Withhold Visitation in Virginia Child Custody

Virginia law is firm that a child has a right to contact with both parents. If you deny visitation without court approval, and do it often enough, you could lose custody. If circumstances make it unsafe for your child to spend time with her other parent, you can ask the court to issue an order changing your visitation arrangement. However, it's not likely that a judge will deny visitation entirely.

Can a Noncustodial Parent Lose Visitation for Nonpayment of Child Support?

Courts encourage relationships between parents and children, so an ex-spouse who does not pay child support as ordered generally will not lose court-ordered visitation just because of the nonpayment. However, this does not mean the spouse receiving child support does not have resources to enforce the child support order and collect past-due payments.

How to Voluntarily Relinquish Parental Rights in Maryland

The relinquishment of parental rights is the giving up of parental rights to one's child or children. Relinquishing your parental rights eliminates all rights and duties you have for your child. This process cannot be reversed. Parents often give up their rights as part of an adoption proceeding. In other cases, parents may voluntarily decide to relinquish their rights when they cannot properly care for their children. All child custody decisions, including the relinquishing of rights, are made in the best interests of the child. If you wish to voluntarily give up your rights to your child or children, there are certain steps you must take to make that effective. However, If the court feels that giving up your rights voluntarily is not in your child's best interests, then the court will not allow the relinquishment.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Divorce Law on Moving Kids Out of State

The issue of moving children out of state either before or after your marriage ends is such a hot button that the ...

Legal Guardianship of a Minor Child in Foster Care

Foster care is usually an emergency stop-gap measure used when a child’s home life reaches a point where she can no ...

California Laws on Parent Relocation

When parents share parental responsibility, the state of California prevents the custodial parent from relocating with ...

California Grandparent Visitation Rights

A sad byproduct of divorce is that the parents of a non-custodial parent can lose contact with their grandchildren ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED