If I go to Prison in Michigan, do I Lose my Children? (Pt 1)

A child's hands holding onto the wire of a prison fence.
Being separated from your children while you’re serving time in prison would be heartbreaking, but it’s not the same as losing your parental rights forever!

This may seem like a question with an obvious answer – yes! You certainly can’t take your kids to prison with you, so in that sense, yes, you do lose your children. But there’s a difference between losing your kids in a temporary and physical sense, and actually losing your rights to be the parent of your children. Those are actually two very different issues with two very different answers, and we’d like to unpack that subject a little here for you. That way, if you’re concerned about losing your kids to a possible future criminal conviction, you’ll know exactly what your rights are.

Going to prison DOESN’T mean you lose your parental rights!

Under Michigan law, a parent doesn’t lose the right to be a parent or have contact with their children, simply because they’re serving a prison sentence. Although there have been a number of situations where CPS has tried to terminate the rights of parents in prison, the Michigan Supreme Court has said that this violates the law. It all happened because of a 2007 case that took place here in Michigan, where a man went to prison and CPS tried to take his kids away from him because of it.

The case highlights how crooked CPS can be when they want to!

In 2007, Richard Mason was convicted of drunk driving and sent to prison. Initially, CPS workers created a reunification plan with the goal of getting him back together with his kids after his release. But no sooner was Mason released, than he was convicted again, this time for a prior larceny change. He went right back to prison and CPS decided this was a good reason to terminate his rights to his two children.

It took years, but in the end Mason got his kids back!

During the Mason case, a total of seven parental hearings took place while he was behind bars, which affected his children and their placement. He specifically told his attorney that he wanted to be involved in all of those hearings. And he had a right to! However, CPS allowed him to participate in only two of those hearings, and then later tried to claim that they hadn’t violated his rights.

Even in prison, Michigan parents have rights!

Join us next time for a look at what your rights are as a parent, if you happen to be in prison, and what you can do to protect those rights. Until then, if you have been accused of abusing a child, or the state is trying to terminate your parental rights while you’re behind bars, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our skilled child abuse and neglect defense attorneys are standing by, 24/7 to help you!