When in need, you can invoke the Court’s P-P Power

Posted August 20th, 2016.

Categories: Custody Tips, Family Law.

p-p power mark guralnick

When Barbara was 15 years old, she had a child out of wedlock. The State of New York terminated Barbara’s parental rights, and put the child up for adoption. Unfortunately, four years later, the child was still in New York’s foster care system, a ward of the state, and had not been adopted by anybody. Barbara wanted her child back — but unfortunately four years had passed. Barbara had failed to file an appeal on time. She was out of time.

Until the court exercised its P-P rights. This refers to its common law rights under the doctrine of “parens patriae.” The term “parens patriae” literally means “parent of the country.” It is an old expression that means that the state has the right to act like a “super-parent” in appropriate cases, to protect the interests of minor children.

Almost every state recognizes the P-P rule. In Barbara’s case, which was officially known as the “Matter of Female S.” the New York Family Court invoked the rule to allow Barbara to seek an order vacating the termination of her parental rights.

Whenever the care, health, safety and well-being of a child is at stake, and whenever a court is not acting promptly to protect that child, remember the doctrine of parens patriae. By asserting the court’s power under the P-P doctrine, you may prompt the judge to assume the role of super-parent. That role may permit the court to take action where it otherwise might have remained silent. It may also defeat an attempt by another parent to transfer a case to another jurisdiction.

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