If I have a home, a stable marriage, and am not a drug addict etc can my parents take custody of my kids just because I got into a little legal trouble last year and spent 3 Months in jail. And during this time they had power of attorney and are now saying I am unfit.
I would think that the fact that you recognized your children needed more care than you could give while you were incarcerated, so you made arrangements for your parents to have Power of Attorney for you to act in your place for thier benefit actually weighs in favor of you as a responsible parent. You knew that you were not going to be able to care for them, so you made arrangements for your role to be filled until you could resume your duties as mother. No mother in the history of mothers has ever been able to do every single thing that her children needed to have done, so part of parenting is recognizing your own limitations and finding a way to compensate for them. Sounds to me like they will need a lot more than just this to have any prayer of success. If that's all they have, you should sit back comfortably and let them make your case for you. But you'll still have a better result if you are represented by a lawyer, because I'm afraid that they will be.
Please note that this answer is given for informational purposes only, and in no way creates an attorney-client relationship beteween the questioner and the responding attorney. You should be aware that Mr. Hamman is only licensed to practice law in the State of Arkansas. You are not a client of the Hamman Law Firm until you and Mr. Hamman have both signed a contract setting forth the scope and limitations of the representation, and the reasonable compensation to be paid by you to Mr. Hamman for that representation.
Your parents would have to prove by clear and convincing evidence that your children are dependent and neglected in your care. If you spent three months in jail last year due to substance abuse issues or other issues that may implicate your ability to care for a child, then your parents may attempt rely on that as proof that you are unfit. However, if you have since taken steps to resolve those issues (i.e. by going through substance abuse treatment and maintaining your sobriety for the past 6 months or so or by addressing mental health issues by seeing a psychologist, ect.) your parents are going to have a difficult time prevailing. I would advise hiring an attorney to defend against their petition against you, as this is not something you want to attempt to handle on your own. If you can not afford an attorney, you have a right to have the Court appoint an attorney to represent you if a dependence and neglect petition has been filed against you by your parents. Take advantage of this right by going to the Juvenile Court Clerk's office and asking the Court to appoint you counsel. You will likely have to fill out an Affidavit of Indigency. Best of Luck!
In addition to Mr. Houston's response, the court looks at whether the children were dependent and neglected at the time of the filing of the petition. If your parents have waited this long to file a petition based on your past incarceration, it's going to be a weak argument for them to make, especially at the standard of clear and convincing evidence.
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