Parents battling for child custody is not a new issue — and it happens for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes parents just have two vastly different ideas about parenting and that leads to conflicts. Other times, however, custody becomes an issue because one parent alleges that the other is somehow “unfit.”
In Scottsdale, Arizona, and other U.S. locations, proving that your co-parent is unfit to have or share child custody is challenging. Family courts know that children usually benefit from spending quality time with both parents. As such, you will have to have evidence to prove your claims.
What do courts look at when determining parental fitness?
State and federal lawmakers define unfitness in several ways. Some examples of conduct that could indicate parental unfitness include the following:
- Abandonment. If your co-parent fails to support your child or makes no real effort to maintain a relationship with the child, a court could rule in your favor. Statutorily, not maintaining a parent-child relationship for at least six months may constitute abandonment.
- Abuse. If a parent physically, sexually or psychologically injures a child, a court may find the parent unfit. Statutorily, abuse can occur in many ways, even in situations like leaving the child in a hot car or other hazardous environments.
- Addiction. If a parent suffers from drug addiction or alcoholism, they may not be able to function as an effective parent — and the child could even be in danger of ingesting something lethal.
Other factors, such as the parent’s mental and physical health, can also lead a court to find the parent unfit to hold custody. In all cases, you must prove unfitness before a court will take the drastic step of denying your co-parent a share of child custody. When child custody issues crop up, it’s important to seek legal guidance as soon as possible.