Wednesday, March 7, 2012

If Your Kid Gets Taken Away: Some Facts To Consider

Before you just go along with the demands of the people who have assumed custody of your child, are you aware that:

• There MUST be a court hearing for anyone but the natural parent to be assigned guardianship?  

• Whenever someone files for "temporary" guardianship they are REQUIRED to file for permanent?

• It is far easier to keep a child than to get one back?  This has to do with something called the 'burden of proof.'  Right now they have to prove you are unfit to take your child away.  In six months there no doubt will have been a hearing. If anyone but you has guardianship, you will have to prove yourself fit to get your child back.  This is much more difficult.

• You can get legal help free to fight?

• Claims made against you may be made less credible when you look at who is making them? Often details come out revealing motives, and calling the truth of the accusation into question.  This is especially true if the source is a parent with whom you have had a rocky past -- your rocky past looks bad for them, not you.

• That there are alternatives to guardianship in which your rights are preserved, even if the child is allowed to stay with someone else for a period of time?

• If you signed anything under duress, this may have included a waiver of your right to be notified about the time and location of this hearing?

• That even if you signed something, and especially if you signed under threat of having your child taken away, you can still basically 'unsign' it, claiming duress?

• That it is possible that the person suing for guardianship may not have your child's best interests as their most important consideration?  That someone else (like another, possibly more senior, family member) may have put them up to it?  That if this is true it is probable that they will try to poison your relationship with your child?  

• That even if the other parent is 'out of the picture,' he still must be consulted?  That the other parent's parents may be an ally for you if you decided to fight?

• That no matter what you have been told, it takes a long time for a child to be placed into foster care?  If you were threatened with any immediate actions, these were not services provided by the state; someone must be funding them, and they are not foster care.

• That no matter what you have been told, allowing your child to be taken away may not be the best thing for them?