What Are Parental Rights?

Under the law, parents have equal rights and responsibilities for raising, supporting and nurturing their children. However, a parent can lose some of his or her rights if that parent’s behavior is such that the court believes it is not in the children’s best interest for that parent to be equally involved.

For example, if a parent becomes addicted to drugs, or is convicted of a violent crime, the court may conclude that the welfare of the child would be better served by reduced or limited contact.

Remember this doctrine: “Best interest of the children”. The court will always do what it thinks is best for the children. Therefore, if a person’s behavior is such that it is not in the children’s best interest to be with that person, the court will so order.

Parents often demand rights, while simultaneously ignoring responsibilities. Rights and responsibilities are opposite ends of the same stick. You cannot pick up one end of the stick without picking up the other. 

Parents have the right to raise their children, direct their education, and help them in social activities and the like. But they also have the responsibility to love and nurture their children and to make sure the children are safe and that their legitimate needs are being met.

A parent who demands his or her rights while ignoring his or her responsibilities runs the risk of having neither.