Hi there and welcome back. We’ve been talking about what the rights are of Michigan parents serving time behind bars, and the difference between not being able to see your kids and actually losing your right to parent them. In the previous article, we looked at a precedent-setting case here in Michigan, where a dad fought long and hard to win back his rights to his kids after CPS stripped them away simply because he was in prison. Moving on, we’d like to make sure you know exactly what your parental rights are here in Michigan.
What the Supreme Court says about the rights of parents in prison
If you remember from before, the Mason case was unique because CPS refused to allow Richard Mason to participate in the hearings that affected his children’s placement. In the end, the Michigan Supreme Court filed an opinion that set the precedent for these types of situations. The opinion, which was written by former Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan, stated that CPS was not allowed to terminate a parent’s rights to their child simply because they’re incarcerated. And that was that.
So what are your rights if you’re a parent in prison in Michigan?
Being in jail or in prison does mean that you’re going to miss out on a lot of your child’s life. There’s not much anyone can do about that. But it doesn’t mean you’re not a parent anymore, or that you’re going to lose the right to be the legal parent to your kids. Legally (assuming that there aren’t any specific court orders preventing it), they can still visit you in prison. You can get copies of their school records, receive photos, cards and letters from them in the mail, and talk to them on the phone. You can write to them, call them, and look forward to reuniting with them (assuming you’ll be released) in the future. You might miss them, but they’re still your kids.
CPS in Michigan can only terminate your rights for specific reasons.
CPS can request that the court terminate your parental rights for specific reasons like abuse or neglect of your children, but being in prison isn’t one of them. According to the opinion written by the Supreme Court, “The court effectively terminated respondent’s parental rights merely because he was incarcerated during the action without considering the children’s placement with relatives or properly evaluating whether placement with respondent could be appropriate for the children in the future. Incarceration alone is not a sufficient reason for termination of parental rights.”
Don’t let CPS strip you of your constitutional right to parent your kids!
One of the biggest problems CPS workers have is arrogance – they often think they know what’s best for your child, and they think they are entitled to make decisions about your parenting and your children’s future. Well, we’re here to tell you – they don’t. A CPS worker may act like they’re the ones who get to determine what happens to your children, but that decision is actually made by a Judge. Also, you have many rights that CPS workers won’t ever tell you about (even if you’re in prison) and they often won’t recognize those rights unless someone forces them to. That’s why you need a highly skilled CPS defense attorney on your side!
If CPS is threatening to terminate your rights, fight for your kids!
If you’ve 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 immediately at 866 766 5245. Our experienced child abuse and neglect defense attorneys are standing by, 24/7 to help you! Don’t let CPS take away your parental rights. Fight for your children, and let us help you protect your family and your future! We’ve been helping Michigan parents for decades, and we can help you too.