Parents have the legal right and responsibility to shelter and nurture their children to adulthood.
When a parent cannot exercise reasonable fitness to care for their minor children, then other parties must step in to protect and provide for those children.
Examples of parental unfitness
There could be several factors that affect a person’s ability to parent, from employment woes to substance abuse disorders. The following signs may be rational reasons to question someone’s parental fitness:
- Failure to provide for a child’s welfare
- Neglect, desertion or abandonment of minors
- Physical, sexual or emotional abuse of a child
- A criminal conviction for serious or violent crimes
- Alcohol dependency or drug addiction
If your former spouse’s parenting skills are seriously lacking but he or she is unwilling to relinquish parenting rights, you should be careful how you approach the subject in court. Criticizing your ex to a judge without evidence is likely to backfire. Therefore, it is important to present any proof you collect to support your claim during custody proceedings.
Child custody ramifications
In divorce cases involving minors, courts will make decisions in the best interests of the children. In Connecticut, most children benefit from a shared custody arrangement. However, if the court deems one parent unfit, the judge has the discretion to set restrictions such as requiring supervised visitation or prohibiting contact altogether.
Court orders regarding custody and visitation are binding, and these decisions can affect the mental and emotional well-being of your children for years to come. Therefore, it is essential to understand the family law process and work to secure a safe and appropriate agreement.