Though the courts may consider it in the child’s best interests to maintain contact with both parents, there are situations when the court awards sole custody of your child to one parent. In these cases, the court deems one parent unfit to maintain conservatorship of your child.
If accused of being an unfit parent or if you believe that your spouse is an unfit parent, it is vital that you understand these accusations and how they can affect custody in your divorce.
WHAT IS AN UNFIT PARENT?
Suppose the court believes you or your spouse could pose a negative and considerable impact on your child’s physical well-being or emotional development. In that case, you or they could lose custody for being an unfit parent. Essentially, if deemed unfit, the courts see you as someone who would not act in a way or take into account the best interests of your child.
WHEN IS CHILD CUSTODY NOT AWARDED?
There are various reasons why the court may not award you custody. All of the reasons revolve around a failure to act in the best interests of your child.
These reasons include:
- Any violation of court orders
- Child alienation
- Child abuse
- Conviction of a serious crime
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Educational neglect
- Long-term imprisonment
- Parental rights terminated for another child
If awarded custody in a divorce, these same elements of parental fitness are typically used after the fact to revoke your custody rights. Your child’s welfare is an ongoing concern of the courts, which requires that you and the other parent maintain a high level of parental fitness in order to keep custody.