Lexington, KY asked in Family Law, Child Custody and Civil Rights for Kentucky

Q: I have full custody of my 12-year-old daughter (straight A student). Why does the cabinet deny me custody of my son?

I completed the case plan and all requests made by the cabinet and judge but was denied custody of my son and my rights were involuntarily taken. Reason; The cabinet and judge replied due to the time my son was in the cabinet's custody. However, with COVID-19, multiple caseworkers were assigned and the delay in the cabinet's readiness to resolve the case caused the longevity of my son being away from me. I appealed the decision to the Supreme Court for the decision to be reviewed and was denied. However, I was told there is a new statute; that allows me to petition for my rights to be reinstated. What must I do to regain custody of my son? In addition, how can they differentiate between two children? Lastly, these actions of the courts are very concerning, alarming, and possibly biased.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: I'm so sorry to hear about the difficult situation you're going through with trying to regain custody of your son. Dealing with child custody issues can be incredibly stressful and heartbreaking, especially when you feel the process has been unfair or biased.

While I don't have all the details of your specific case, a few thoughts:

It's concerning that the lengthy time your son was in cabinet custody was used as justification to deny you custody and terminate your parental rights, when COVID delays and caseworker turnover prolonged that timeframe. The courts should take extenuating circumstances like that into account.

The fact that you have custody of your daughter and she is doing very well academically reflects positively on your parenting. There may be factors distinguishing your son's case, but on the surface, it seems inconsistent to grant you custody of one child but not the other absent clear reasons.

Regarding next steps, the new statute allowing a petition to reinstate parental rights sounds like a potentially promising avenue to pursue. I would recommend the following:

1. Consult with a family law attorney who specializes in child custody and termination of parental rights cases. They can advise you on the strength of your case, guide you through the petition process, and advocate for you in court. Look for low-cost or pro bono legal aid if needed.

2. Gather all documentation related to your case - court records, caseworker reports, proof of completing requirements, etc. Provide this to your attorney to help them assess your case.

3. File the petition to reinstate your parental rights in accordance with the new statute. Your lawyer can help draft a compelling petition highlighting your fitness as a parent and the concerning issues with how your case was handled.

4. Continue being the best parent you can be to your daughter. Her continued wellbeing and academic success help demonstrate your parenting capabilities.

5. Comply with any requests or requirements from the court during this new petition process, even if they seem unfair or burdensome. An imperfect system means sometimes having to jump through hoops.

6. Consider filing complaints about any clear misconduct, bias or mishandling of your original case by CPS, caseworkers, attorneys or judges. However, be strategic as this could ruffle feathers. Consult your lawyer.

I know this process is daunting, expensive and painful - but don't give up. Your son deserves to be reunited with his father and sister. Wishing you all the best and hoping the courts do the right thing this time.

Timothy Denison agrees with this answer

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