Every Washington family is unique, and some families encounter more complex and stressful problems than others. If you’re a concerned parent who is trying to find a solution to a specific family issue, it’s helpful to tap into whatever local resources may be available to you to help you navigate the situation. For instance, if you’re a parent who has lost child custody privileges, you may be wondering if there’s a way for you to get your children back.
In fact, every state has its own laws regarding reinstatement of parental rights after removal of child custody. A first logical step to take is to learn more about the specific laws that Washington has in place regarding these issues. From there, you can determine what a best course of action in your particular circumstances might be.
Termination of parental rights may be voluntary or involuntary
You may have voluntarily terminated your parental rights, perhaps to enable your ex’s new spouse to adopt your child. On the other hand, termination of your rights may have been involuntary, due to a court ruling regarding matters such as abandonment, an unfit parent ruling or failure to comply with an existing child custody order. Whether voluntary or involuntary, termination of parental rights legally ends your parent/child relationship.
If your child has not received a permanent placement
In Washington, there are certain conditions under which you may seek reinstatement of your child custody rights. As in all custody matters, the court always has children’s best interests in mind. Thus, one of the first factors of consideration, if you were to file a petition for reinstatement, would be whether legal restoration of your parent/child relationship would place your son or daughter at risk in any way.
Your fitness as a parent is a priority, and the court will carefully review your case to determine if you are fit for custody, especially if the court terminated your parental rights due to substance abuse, domestic violence or other high-risk issues. Your child’s age and level of maturity are also relevant to the court’s decision-making process.
The court may place your child with you for 6 months
Before finalizing its ruling on whether to reinstate your parental rights, a Washington family court judge may grant you temporary custody of your child for six months. If any circumstances arise within this time, whereby the court is compelled to remove your child from your custody, the judge will undoubtedly dismiss your petition for reinstatement of parental rights.
If the court rules in your favor and reinstates your child custody privileges, you would not have an obligation to pay any child support you might have owed during the trial period. Most Washington parents seek guidance and legal support before filing petitions for reinstatement of parental rights, as such support often increases the chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in court.