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Child custody: Can the state take away an out-of-control child?

Most parents have experienced the tantrums of toddlers and the rebelliousness of teenagers. Now it appears that California children may be removed from the custody of their parents if it is found that the children are out of control. Many questions are being asked about parental rights in child custody after a ruling by the 2nd Court of Appeal.

Even if parents are not at fault, the state may remove children who threaten their own safety or the safety of others. This ruling has many parents worried, particularly because it appears unclear what actually constitutes an out-of-control child. Will a child who throws a tantrum at the supermarket be removed from his or her parents' custody? The decision to take such action would be at the discretion of a state worker's assessment, and parents need a detailed definition of what the state regards as out of control.

A professor at the McGeorge School of Law says the state will not have carte blanche to interfere at any time, and asserts that intervention can only take place in severe cases where there are significant threats of physical harm. The court system is in the process of defining the responsibilities of parents and the circumstances when intervention would be justified. The professor believes that the process will not be completed for at least another six months.

California parents whose children demonstrate behavioral patterns that pose genuine threats to themselves or others may be concerned. They may benefit from consulting with experienced child custody attorneys concerning these developments and other family law issues. After assessing the situation, lawyers will explain the legal rights of the parents and may be able to suggest suitable remedies regarding any problems presented.

Source: CBS Sacramento, "Court Ruling On Out-Of-Control Children Worries California Parents", Adrienne Moore, April 2, 2015

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
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