Parental rights and child custody

“A biological parent’s right to the care and custody of his or her child is among the oldest of the judicially recognized liberty interests protected by the Due Process Clauses of the federal and state constitutions.”
— Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 65(2000)

This right also extends to adoptive parents.

I meet with people daily whose parental rights have been placed in jeopardy by divorce, criminal charges, and the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. Many well meaning parents do not realize that their right to parent their children is in jeopardy until it is taken away. 

Custody vs. Parental rights - These are two distinctly different subjects. . Custody may change as a result of many factors, such as divorce, removal of the child(ren) by the Department of Children’s Services, or voluntary surrender of custody by the parent or current custodian. Custody is subject to being changed in the future, depending on circumstances. Parental rights, however, may only be terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction, or surrendered by a parent with the approval of a reviewing judge.

If you do not have current custody of your children, or if you have questions about custody or parental rights, it is important to consult with an attorney without delay. Time may be of the essence in your particular case.

If you are a divorced parent or the parent of a child born out of wedlock, consult an attorney if any of the following occur:

  • Either parent wishes to relocate

  • Your child(ren) live in another state, and the custodian wants to modify the custody order.

  • Your individual circumstances change, including the birth of another child.

  • Your children are the subject of a DCS petition

  • You have been served with a petition to terminate your parental rights, or you have been contacted by an attorney about surrendering your parental rights

  • One or more of your children have reached eighteen (18) years of age.

  • ANY other circumstances, which may give you concern about your parental rights.

  • This list is not exhaustive. If you have concerns about your rights, call me. I never charge for an initial appointment.