A custody battle can be the most difficult and emotionally trying part of a divorce. Traditionally, proving one parent to be unfit to care for children has been the most decisive factor in a judge’s final decision. Judges know that the best home for a child is one in which they will be most cared for. Parents are often unwilling to seek divorce out of fear of losing a child, either because they feel that they cannot prove their spouse is unfit, or because the spouse has threatened them with the same accusation.
Signs of an Unfit Parent
Although it can be difficult to produce concrete evidence that a parent is unfit, there are some actions and characteristics that are almost certainly considered sufficient if they can be proven. An unfit parent:
- Abuses drugs or alcohol
- Was previously convicted of a sexual offense
- Has a past of domestic violence
- Has physically, mentally, or emotionally abused the child
- Has exposed the child to abuse (by a stepparent, sibling, grandparent, etc.)
- Fails to maintain a suitable living environment (i.e.: filth, lack of running water/electricity, etc.)
If you can produce evidence that your spouse fits any of the descriptions above, your chances of establishing that he or she is an unfit parent are significantly higher. If you do not fit any of those descriptions, you most likely do not have to worry about being declared unfit yourself.
If you or someone you love is considering divorce and anticipating a difficult custody battle, the experienced Oceanside child custody lawyers at Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP, are here to help. Contact our child custody attorneys today by calling (760) 621-7101.