In our previous segment of this article we talked about the fact that termination of parental rights (TPR) is a terrifying concept and that many people are in the dark about what it involves. So we set out to answer a few short questions in the hopes of clearing the water a little for Michigan families.
Will I get a chance to explain my side of the story?
Yes you will. But you should not be explaining anything to police or to CPS workers because they are the people who are trying to have your parental rights terminated. Anything you say to them can (and probably will) be twisted and then used against you in court. The sooner you get an experienced CPS defense attorney who can argue your side of the story in court, the better your chances are of keeping your kids.
Are there other options besides terminating my parental rights?
In many cases there are. CPS (Children’s Protective Services) refers to these other options as “services”, and they include a wide variety of alternative solutions. They include things like parenting classes, anger management classes, sobriety support classes, alcohol testing and a host of other options. Talk to your CPS defense attorney about what alternatives you can pursue, and what is available to you at this time.
Is it possible to give up my children without a court case?
If, for example, your ex offers you the opportunity to give up your parental rights so that their new spouse can legally adopt the children, you are legally entitled to make that choice. This is called a voluntary termination of parental rights and happens when you sign a release through the court. This usually happens at the same time as a stepparent adopts the child. Without an accompanying stepparent adoption, most judges will not approve a request to ”sign off” on a child.
However, relinquishing your parental rights is a very big decision and should not be made without a full and complete understanding of what the consequences will be. Never try to make this kind of choice without the counsel of a family law attorney.
We hope this was helpful in answering some of your questions. However, once again we need to point out that if you are involved in a termination of parental rights (TPR) case, you should not be using internet information to guide your choices. You need to meet with an experienced CPS defense attorney as soon as possible, who can properly explain the process, and how it affects your unique case.