Every American citizen has rights, including children. These rights must be upheld and protected. One cannot trample on another's rights or maltreat a child because one is older or wealthier. The human rights of parents and children make up child’s rights and parent’s rights. They are a means of protecting both parents and children.
Every child irrespective of gender, location, age, or economic status has the right to live and soar. Whether the child lives with the biological parents or not, whether the child is born within or outside wedlock, each child deserves the right to life and basic necessities of life. Child rights are part of human rights centering on the care, protection and needs of minors.
The right of a child covers the right to education, health care, family life, recreation and play, protection from abuse and harm and adequate standard of living. It also includes the right to associate with parents, human identity, need for physical protection, and freedom from discrimination against gender, race, color, disability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, etcetera. These rights change with development and age and span through their developmental stages:
Child’s rights are hinged on –
· Child’s best interest which is a primary consideration in every decision and action pertaining to the child.
· Non-discrimination in terms of equal rights to personal development
· The right to survival and development and
· The child’s views like in respecting the views and voice of the child.
Children are regarded as minors and therefore lack the autonomy to make the right decisions, unlike parents. Adults like parents, caregivers, teachers and others are rather vested with the power to assist in seeing to the welfare of the children. Even though the United States is yet to ratify the CRC, the Equal protection Clause protects children born within or outside wedlock but not the unborn. In the event of divorce of parents, every decision is hinged on the child’s best interest. The issues of child custody, child support and child visitation are decided upon with the basic aim of pleasing the child. The court may need to make these decisions if the parents fail to come to agreement.
The child has certain rights in divorce including:
· The right to be free of conflict between the parents, the right to develop and maintain independent relationship with each parent,
· The right to be financially supported and so on.
To ensure that these rights are maintained, both parents and the courts will determine the child custody, child visitation and child support in the best interest of the child.
The right of the parents to make vital decisions and take the right actions concerning the child is the parent’s rights and includes:
· The right to assume legal and physical custody of the child.
· The right to child visitation and contact.
· The right to make decisions concerning the child’s welfare including medical treatment, education and religion.
· The right to pass on inheritance to the child.
These rights can encompass child custody and child support if divorce is involved. Parent’s rights gets a bit complicated with issues like parental rights of non-biological parents and divorce. These rights are usually automatic in normal family settings like married parents but in some cases like disputed paternity, the court may have to wade in to sort things out in the child’s interest. Parental rights can be relinquished or terminated explicitly or implicitly. In cases of neglect, abuse, abandonment, lack of established paternity, voluntary relinquishment, parental rights can be terminated.
Sometimes, the rights of a parent to child custody or child visitation can be limited by the court under certain circumstances like abuse. Usually, the child is supposed to reside with the custodial parent while the non-custodial parent sends child support. Such a parent should also have child visitation rights.
Both parents and children have the right to hire a family lawyer to assist them with the legal issues that may arise, especially with divorce and abuse. Understanding and maintaining the child’s rights as well as that of the parents is vital to the development and happiness of the child. When faced with any child custody, child visitation or child support challenges, you need to contact an attorney. The lawyer will assist you to understand your rights as a child or a parent while assisting you to meander through the legal process successfully.