In most cases, the court encourages an arrangement when both parents are actively involved in the upbringing of their child following the divorce. When parents cooperate and come up with a joint custody and parenting plan that benefits everyone, both parents and the child end up generally happy. But what happens when one parent is just unfit for this role?
One of the most important things you need to keep in mind is that the court takes the best interests of the child very seriously. If your ex’s actions or inaction are a threat to the child’s best interests, then you may petition the court to review the existing custody and visitation arrangement. However, you will be required to substantiate your claims.
Here are two of the factors the court will take into account when scrutinizing a parent’s fitness for custody:
A history of violence
The family court will look unfavorably at a parent with a history of violence towards their spouse as well as the child. If your ex has been convicted for any form of child abuse (including violent acts towards children), then the court may restrict their access to the child. In severe cases like sexual assault and child pornography, they may be stripped of any unsupervised custody and/or visitation.
Likewise, a parent who has a history of violence towards their spouse, especially in the presence of the child, will have a difficult time proving their fitness for parenting.
A history of substance abuse
A parent who is struggling with alcohol and substance addiction may not be able to care and provide for the child. Also, a history of relapse may give the court the impression that the parent in question is unreliable and, thus, incapable of caring for the child.
Child custody can be a very contentious and sensitive subject during and after the divorce. Find out how you can act in the best interests of your child at all times.