1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Legal rights of parents of pregnant teens?

Discussion in 'Other Family Law Matters' started by danyellalee, May 22, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. danyellalee

    danyellalee Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi there,

    I have tried researching all over the net for a few days, but can't find any resources for this question, so I hope someone can help me out.

    My 15 year old sister is pregnant. I'm trying to research her legal options in regards to what rights she has to make decisions for herself and her baby, considering she is still a minor, and what financial and educational resources are available to her. I am also trying to find out what legal rights my parents would still have in terms of decisions they can make for her, since she is still a minor (this one is particularly important, as I have found nothing on this subject).

    My sister is in 9th grade and lives with our parents in West Virginia. She will be 16 in December. The pregnancy is very early...just a few weeks at most. She will not consider abortion or adoption as options, and intends to raise the baby herself, with the support of family as she continues to attend high school and get a job. The father is (supposedly) a 17-year old kid, also in West Virginia, who will be 18 in November. He is an eighth-grade dropout, who currently holds a part time job at McDonald's that brings home a few hundred dollars per month, and he lives with his parents. (The above "supposedly" stems from the fact that my sister had unprotected sex with one other guy a few weeks before dating this one...though they didn't go "all the way" unprotected and she won't entertain the idea that anyone other than her current boyfriend is the father...an ultrasound scheduled for mid-June will help place the gestational age and let us know for sure). The kids are both happy about it to some extent (they feel they are in love and will be together forever...they "dated" in sixth grade and then just drifted apart for a few years)....the parents of course are not even close to thrilled (although his parents have already been through this twice with his older sister, whom they support at their home along with her child). My mother is considering moving the family or sending my sister away somewhere (most likely to live with my husband and me in Virginia, about 2.5 hours from their home...we have a stable life and the ability to support her and the baby...my husband is eight years into a military contract here and I stay at home with our one little girl) to keep her away from the boyfriend and try to ensure she continues to pursue an education, and will definitely not entertain the idea of allowing them to get married. I know the father has rights once the baby is born and official paternity is established, but I do not know what rights he has during the pregnancy.

    So, I need to know where I can find information regarding:

    1. The legal rights my parents have over decisions regarding my sister and her living situation and education, considering she is still a minor. (Example...Can my parents legally enforce a specific living arrangement, and keep the boy out of her life during and after the pregnancy (ethical considerations of this aside)? Could they get in legal trouble if she drops out of school?)

    2. The legal rights my sister has regarding the same decisions, considering she will be a parent soon (I know she has full rights to her medical care decisions and those of the baby, but for example: Can she choose to move out and live with the boyfriend, or choose to drop out of school, or would she be considered a runaway and/or truant since she is so young?)

    3. The legal rights and responsibilities of the father, both during and after the pregnancy, regarding decisions he can make for the child and living arrangement, etc. I know child support can be sought once the child is born, but is he legally required to help cover costs during the pregnancy? Is he legally entitled to attend prenatal appointments and ultrasounds, etc?

    4. Is there a website or resource where I can access specific programs, laws, and resources for teen parents in West Virginia?


    Thank you so much in advance to all who help me on this...I really want to try and make the best of this situation by helping ensure my sister completes at least her high school education, and that the baby is taken care of to the best possible extent, both financially and emotionally (including involving the father to whatever degree is best for the child).

    danyellalee
     
  2. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,718
    Likes Received:
    1,920
    Trophy Points:
    113

    1.) Your parents retain complete control over her living situation and her education. They can prevent her boyfriend from seeing her and they can force her to continue her education.

    2.) She cannot move out of the house to live with ANYONE unless she has your parents permission. She cannot drop out of school.

    3.) The alleged father has no rights or responsibilities until after the birth and paternity has been legally established.

    4.) I'm sure there is one but I don't know what it is; WV is not my state.

    Keep one thing in mind. Pregnancy confers NO rights whatsoever on your sister except for her right to make her own medical decisions. She is NOT legally emancipated and her parents still have 100% control over everything in her life except her medical care. She is still a minor and she needs to remember that.
     
  3. legalrights

    legalrights New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Parental rights such as custody of the minor, obligation of support and so forth remain the same as if the minor child were not pregnant.

    Parental rights do not extend to forcing the young lady to have an abortion, place the child for adoption, sign over her rights to the child.

    Minors who are pregnant or have a child retain all the legal rights to said child as does an adult female unless a court rules otherwise.

    If the parents of the pregnant minor do not want the responsiblility of supporting her through her pregnancy or her and the child when it is born, they may petition the court to have her emancipated to allow her to be eligible for public assistance and placement in a foster or group home.

    If the parents choose to support the minor and her child they can apply for public assistance on her behalf.

    apostille info
     
  4. bobloblaw

    bobloblaw New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    if she gets married, in most states, this will legally emancipate her.
     
  5. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

    Messages:
    8,718
    Likes Received:
    1,920
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Many states will not allow a 15 year old to marry. Of those that do, every single one of them requires parental permission, permission of the court, or both. Few if any states will allow an out of state teenager to marry in their state without proof of age and the appropriate permissions. In the poster's state, since she is under 18 at least one parent must be physically present to approve the marriage. The days when a pregnant teenager and her boyfriend could cross state lines and marry without permission are gone forever.
     

Share This Page

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.