When deciding child custody matters, the court’s primary concern is the child’s best interests. Therefore, if a parent is deemed unfit, a judge may reduce or limit their interaction with the child.
But, what exactly constitutes an unfit parent in custody proceedings?
A number of factors can be considered
While there is no fixed criteria or standard to determine a parent’s unfitness, various factors centered around the child’s well-being may come into play. They include:
- Abuse and neglect
- Level of parental involvement
- Interference with the child’s relationship with the other parent
- Substance abuse
- Domestic violence
- Mental health concerns
- Failure to provide financial support
- Attitude and relationship of the child towards each parent
- Criminal behavior
It is worth noting that the court will consider any other relevant factors depending on the unique aspects of every divorce. Ultimately, the aim is to ensure a parent can provide the necessary guidance, care and support before determining custody.
Circumstances may change
Court-issued custody orders are not permanent, and a judge may make the appropriate changes to suit the present. Either parent can seek modifications if there has been a substantial change of circumstances since the orders came into effect.
For example, if a parent previously deemed unfit due to substance abuse has successfully undergone rehabilitation and no longer poses a threat to the child’s well-being, the court may allow them to reintegrate into the child’s life.
Similarly, a judge can modify existing custody orders if the situation changes and a parent is no longer up to the task.
Protect your parental rights
The court’s decision during child custody proceedings may have a far-reaching impact on your parent-child relationship in the years to come. Therefore, it helps to present a strong case.
Whether it’s dealing with false allegations made against you or proving your ability to discharge parental duties, the necessary guidance during this crucial process can make a huge difference and help protect your place in your child’s life.