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Michigan Supreme Court Strikes Down “One Parent” Doctrine

A Jackson County man will get a hearing on whether he gets to keep his kids after a ruling Tuesday by the Michigan Supreme Court.

The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta explains.

The state Supreme Court struck down a policy that allows authorities to limit or terminate both parents’ rights to their children when one of them runs into trouble with the law.

In this case, the mother lost her parental rights when the couple’s newborn daughter tested positive for drugs. Authorities used the so-called “one-parent doctrine” to also deny father Lance Laird the right to see his children. The rule says once the legal system gets involved in a child abuse or neglect case, courts can order both parents to stay away when a child’s welfare is at stake.

The state Supreme Court says that’s a violation of due process rights, and no parents can be denied access to their kids without their own, individual fitness proceedings.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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