In the eyes of California family law, every child deserves a mother and a father who are both financially responsible for them and provide them with the necessities for healthy development. For this reason, parental rights are highly protected in family law courts.
Very few things can take your rights as a parent away. Your parental rights can be transferred to another parent if they adopt your child. If you have not been in contact with your child for over a year, the other parent can take action to end your parental rights however those rights must be transferred to another person. Another parent cannot adopt your child unless you have been given a chance to contest it.
If the other parent wants to end your parental rights, they first must serve you with a Notice of Alleged Paternity. At this point, you have 30 days to contest the proposed adoption. If you have not had contact with your child for over a year and you do not respond to the notice within those 30 days, your parental rights may be ended.
If you do choose to contest it, contact an experienced attorney right away. You will have to file papers with the court and serve the other parent with them. You will have to explain your non-contact and explain why you want to retain your parental rights. If your child is adopted, you are not longer their legal parent and will no longer have the rights a parent would have.
You may be still allowed to see your child, if the legal parents agree to it. In any case, the courts want to see every child have two parents and so will only end your parental rights if there is another person willing to assume them. In some cases, you may not be asked to sign over your parental rights but your visitation with your child may be restricted. You may be ordered to have only supervised visitation with your child.
You can also be restrained from contacting your child at all if domestic violence is involved. However, if you make a good faith effort to be a good parent and adhere to the requirements of your visitation rights, if any, you may eventually be allowed unsupervised visitation or may be allowed to contact your child again. This may involve a parenting evaluator observing your supervised visitations and having one on one interviews with you and your child to assess whether having unrestricted contact with your child is in their best interests.
Are you in Los Angeles County and have questions about your rights as a parent? Certified Family Law Specialist Mark H. Karney has expertise in child custody matters and experience handling child custody cases in Los Angeles County. Serving Los Angeles and surrounding areas, Mark H. Karney can efficiently and successfully handle your custody case and will look out for the best interest of your child. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation by calling 310-622-9434.