Child Custody Information: Restrictions for Unfit Parents

Apr 11

Child custody is one of the most important details that divorcing and separating parents should arrange. Because it could entail difficult decisions, the court acts as a mediator to ensure the best interest of the child is upheld. As such, there several factors that needs to be considered. Still, regardless of what both parents decide, the court will have the final say in the manner.

Particularly in the last several years, the court has been keen on making sure that children are able to spend equal amounts of time with both parents. As much as possible, the courts prefer to award joint custody to ensure that children can foster a healthy relationship with each parent. Joint custody is when both parents can play an active role in making important decisions involving their child. Depending on the proximity of both parents’ home, they might also be awarded joint physical custody by the court. This is the ideal scenario that courts will want to see child custody arrangements play. This, however, won’t be the case if there is an unfit parent involved.

The court will restrict custody rights for parents deemed legally unfit to care for their child. This is typically determined by identifying factors that is considered dangerous or harmful to the child. If there are concerns about domestic violence, emotional abuse, substance abuse, and other criminal offenses, the court will carry out a risk assessment to learn more about the situation. Such an investigation can take place even after a custody arrangement has long been settled. Depending on what they find, the court could end up making important modifications to the custody arrangement.

According to the website of BB Law Group PLLC, the following scenarios are flagged by courts as cause to modify child custody arrangements and deem a parent unfit:

  • If a child being subjected to abuse, whether physical or emotional
  • If a parent is dependent on narcotic substances
  • If a parent’s new partner endangers the child’s well being

For example, a parent with drug dependence could have their visitation rights terminated. As pointed out on the website of lawyer James Powderly, the criminal justice system takes drug charges very seriously. Any serious crime will have devastating outcomes, which can affect a parent’s ability to play an active role in their child’s life.

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