What Is An Unfit Parent

Often, the term “unfit parent” is used as a casual term that many people use to describe a parent who simply does not meet a particular standard of parenting, for whatever reason.  What many people do not know is the fact that the term “unfit parent” is also a legal term of art with real implications for the way a parent can interact with their child in the eyes of the court.  If you believe that your child’s other parent may be an unfit parent, you should speak to an experienced family law attorney for help.

What Is An Unfit Parent?

In California, a parent’s fitness will be judged by a number of factors:

  1. How does the parent understand and respond to the child’s needs?
    1. In this consideration, the judge will have to evaluate whether the parent is responsive and sensitive enough to the child’s needs.  Another important consideration is the parent’s ability to communicate with the child.
  2. Does the parent set proper limits that are appropriate for the child’s age?
  3. How has the parent looked after the child and involved themselves in the child’s life in the past?
    1. A parent’s past history with looking after the child is of essential importance with this factor; if the parent has been largely absent or has relied on others to care for the child instead of doing so themselves, there may likely be an issue here.
  4. How does the parent handle conflict regarding custody with the other parent?
    1. While parents do not have to get along if they are unable to, a history of unreasonable and uncooperative behavior will count against them in this area.
  5. Does the parent have a history of any problematic behaviors?
    1. Has the parent ever committed child abuse?
    2. Has the parent ever perpetrated domestic violence?
    3. Has the parent ever abused any substances?
  6. Does the parent suffer from any psychiatric illness?
  7. Does the parent display any issues or difficulties with social functioning?
  8. How does the child feel towards the parent?

A custody decision is one of the most important decisions that will affect how you parent your child.  When presenting evidence in front of a judge in support of a particular custody allocation, you need the best help you can find in Sonoma County.  Your future with your child will be in the best hands if you contact the firm of Charles D. Stark; his experience and knowledge will provide you with the best chance of success.

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