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Incarcerated Parents have Rights Too

Incarcerated Parents have Rights Too

In the United States, there are approximately five million children born to a parent that has been incarcerated at one point in his or her life. Oftentimes, the incarceration of one or both parents can negatively affect a child, especially those in their earlier years of childhood. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, from 1991 to 2007, the number of incarcerated parents increased by 80%.

While the rights of a parent cannot be terminated solely on the basis of their incarceration, the Federal Adoption and Safe Families Act allows a court to terminate a parent’s rights to their child if:

  • A compelling reason exists, and
  • A child was in foster care consecutively for at least 15 out of 22 months.

In some instances, a parent in prison may see their child through regular prison visits or may collaborate with a social work agency to see his or her child. In other situations where a person is incarcerated for a long period of time, the incarcerated parent may find it more difficult to see their child. Here, a parent may seek to terminate the incarcerated parent’s parental rights on the basis of abandonment, so long as the incarcerated parent has not seen or communicated with the child for at least six months.

Under New York State law, an incarcerated parent may lose their parental rights for not collaborating with the other parent. This may include not assisting in planning for college, medical related issues, or even visits to the prison. In addition, New York State requires all agencies filing for parental termination to notify and update the incarcerated parent regarding the termination of his or her parental rights.

If you or someone you love is seeking to terminate the parental rights of an incarcerated individual or if you are an incarcerated parent that is having your parental rights revoked, it is important to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney who may assist you in protecting your legal rights. The attorneys at Goldberg Sager & Associates represent individuals in various family law matters and are dedicated to helping their clients achieve the best possible outcome for their case. Contact the Brooklyn family law attorneys at Goldberg Sager & Associates at (347) 497-3245 for a free phone consultation.

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