By way of case law and statutory framework, NM technically follows the Parental Rights Doctrine. However, in recent history the US Supreme Court has also weighed in on this doctrine. A Summary of the Supreme Court’s Parental Rights Doctrine: The Supreme Court’s Parental Rights Doctrine is the culmination of the Court’s rulings on parental rights.
Up until 2000, the Supreme Court consistently upheld parental rights. In 2000, however, the split decision in Troxel v. Granville opened the door for individual judges and States to apply their own rules to parental rights. Prior to 2000, the Supreme Court followed the doctrine that parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their children. Parents were assumed to be the best caretakers for their child unless proven unfit. Our nation consistently maintained that parents possess a fundamental right to raise their children as they see fit.
It is the natural duty of the parent to give his children education suitable to their station in life. – Meyer v. State of Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923). Rather than continuing to uphold the Parental Rights Doctrine clearly established in previous cases, the Supreme Court’s split decision in Troxel v. Granville (2000) opened the door for individual judges and States to apply their own rules to parental rights. In Troxel, A Washington state law gave any person the ability to override a good parent’s decision about visitation by simply claiming that it would be “best” for children to allow the third-party to have visitation rights. This left a rather confusing legacy.
In New Mexico there continues to be a preference for biological parents but the passage of additional laws have continued to change the fundamental understanding of the law. We now have the Kinship Guardianship Act, the Grandparents Visitation Privileges Act and the Uniform Parentage Act. All of these laws have continued to muddy the water when it comes to these custody rights. That is why it’s important to consult with a custody expert. To discuss your custody concerns with our custody experts contact us at info@JusticeLegalGroup.com or call us at 505-880-8737.