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What Are parental rights?

By Tolison & Williams / March 25, 2019

As a good parent, you are expected to provide for your children and nurture them into well-rounded adults. But every person has a somewhat different understanding of what constitutes "good parenting". While there are no universal standards to that, parents do have some unique rights they can exercise at their discretion.

Parental rights stand for the duties you have as a parent when it comes to deciding on significant issues in a child's life, according to their best interests.  If you already worked out a shared custody arrangement or plan to file for custody, it's especially important to understand what your rights are as a parent. This knowledge can help you avoid a lot of disputes and possible misunderstandings with another parent, and most importantly - legal action against you. Below you will find the list of parental rights in Colorado, along with an explanation of what those entail. 

Physical Possession of The Child

A parent who has retained their legal rights can maintain physical possession of their child meaning that the child is allowed to live with them, travel with them, and otherwise be in their presence without any outside influence or permission. 

A parent whose physical custody rights have been removed or limited is not able to do these things freely. They may only be allowed to have their child with the express permission of the other parent or guardians. Supervision may be required, or they may need to follow explicit directives regarding their behavior during the time they spend with their child. 

Right to Discipline The Child

Parents with legal rights can set rules for their children, give privileges as they see fit, and dole out appropriate consequences. These rights are limited or taken away entirely when parental rights have been terminated.

Right to Control and Manage The Minor Child’s Earnings

parental right child earnings

Until a child reaches the age of majority, their parent or guardian has the legal right to control their earnings. Controlling and managing earnings includes making savings and investment decisions on behalf of the child, directing them in appropriate ways to spend or save the money they earn and controlling any money that is gifted to them or inherited. In cases where a child may be the recipient of more substantial sums of money, the courts are concerned with ensuring that no exploitation takes place.

Right to Control And Manage The Minor Child’s Property

In some cases, a minor child may inherit or otherwise receive an estate. Since minor’s are not able to own real estate, vehicles, or other assets on their own, an adult controls and manages property for them. In most cases, that is one or both of the child’s parents. If the parents don’t have rights, this control is passed along to the child’s guardian or someone appointed by the courts.

Right to be Supported by an Adult Child

Filial responsibility laws make adult children responsible for the care of their aging or disabled parents. If somebody is unable to support themselves, the expectation is that their family members will assist as they are able before state resources are used.

However, these protections are only in place in cases where the parental relationship has not been severed. If parental rights are terminated, filial responsibility is no longer on the table. If the child in question is adopted, they then have filial responsibility towards their adoptive parent(s).

Right to Have The Child Bear The Parent’s Name and Right to Prevent Adoption of The Child Without The Parent’s Consent

Unless the courts intervene and state otherwise, a child's biological parents have the right to name the child as they see fit.  This includes the child being given the parent’s last name. In addition to this, the child may not be given up for adoption without the parents’ express consent. This is the case even when the child may be in foster care, or living with only one of the parents. Until parental rights are terminated, the parents have final say in both of these matters.

If you feel that any of your parental rights has been violated, do seek legal help. Our experienced attorneys will be able to provide you with additional explanations and council. 

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