What Parental Rights do Parents in Prison Have? (Pt 1)

October 3, 2018 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
Parent in prison
Parents who are behind bars still have rights as parents in Michigan!

This may seem like a strange question to some people. After all, if you’ve gone to prison, that means you did something very bad, and so if you lose contact with your kids, you probably deserve it, right? Actually, there’s a lot more to this topic than many people realize, and it’s a very complex subject with a lot to consider. So let’s take a look at what the law says in Michigan, and then discuss some scenarios…

Michigan law is clear about parent’s rights.

Under Michigan law, a parent doesn’t lose the right to be a parent, or have contact with their children, simply because they are serving a prison sentence. In 2010, 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 for no other reason beyond the fact that they’re incarcerated.

The opinion was the result of a controversial case:

The case which prompted this opinion was the sad story of the Masons. In 2007, Mr Mason was convicted of drunk driving and sent to prison. At first, CPS workers created a reunification plan that aimed to get him back together with his kids after his release. But that didn’t happen. After his release, Mr. Mason was convicted of a prior larceny change and went right back to prison. As a result, CPS terminated his rights to his two children.

The Supreme Court said CPS shouldn’t have done that.

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 walk all over you! Fight for your kids!

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!