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Unless a court order suspends or terminates the mother’s or father’s parental rights, the mother and father have the ability to make decisions regarding their child, even if they had not previously lived with or cared for the child.


What might a court order do to change the rights of a parent?

A court order may do any combination of the following:

• give legal custody to either the mother or the father

• appoint a non-parent as the legal guardian of the child

• open a case in the Juvenile Court and give the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) or the Probation Department legal custody of the child

• terminate the mother’s and father’s parental rights and allow another person to become the child’s parent through adoption.

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