Q: My husband had a child with someone else but the child was taken by CPS because she failed a drug test after childbirth.
CPS ended up giving him custody and she signed her parental rights over to him. A year later he asked me to watch him while he went to rehab. He ended up leaving it early but he let me continue to watch him. Almost a year after he came back the birth mom was incarcerated and he committed suicide shortly after that. So, does the birth mom have any rights and what can I do to continue taking care of the child?
A: If her parental rights were terminated, then she cannot come back and reclaim custody. The best thing you can do is to hire an attorney and petition the court for custody yourself. You do not say whether or not there are other family members available for the child. This, of course, may complicate the situation for you.
William R. Wright agrees with this answer
A: I am sorry you have been through such a tough time. The first question is whether the birth mom turned over the child to your husband without a court order; or is there is a court order terminating parental rights? If there is no court order, the birth mom would have parental rights, of course. However, if there an actual order terminating parental rights, she would have no rights any greater than anyone else. In any event, if you wish to raise the child, you will need to file an petition asking the local court to grant physical and legal custody to you. You may encounter opposition from your late husband's family and/or others. I don't know all of the facts, but you seem to be in a good position to be awarded custody.
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