When a set of Minnesota parents decide to dissolve their marriage, they typically try to negotiate an agreement regarding future care and financial provisions for their children. Child custody proceedings are a primary issue in such cases, especially if parents disagree about what is best for their children. In such cases, a family court judge can make decisions on the parents’ behalf. If one parent believes that the other is unfit for custody, evidence must be presented to convince the court.
What are the exact issues that make a parent unfit for custody? While there are guidelines in place to help judges make appropriate decisions, each case is reviewed on its own merits. In other words, an issue that is relevant to one case may not be relevant to another. However, there are certain issues that are definite causes for concern and are likely to influence a judge’s decision when determining the fitness of a particular parent for custody.
Issues that often lead to ‘unfit parent’ decision in divorce
The court is focused on ensuring that the children will be safe in their home environments. A parent who has filed for divorce may request sole custody based on allegations that the other parent is unfit. If the concerned parent demonstrates evidence that the children’s safety is at risk because the other parent is cruel and abusive, the judge may decide to restrict the other parent’s interactions with the kids or prohibit interaction altogether.
If a parent has a substance addiction to drugs or alcohol, the court may prohibit his or her interactions with the children in question. Sometimes, such a parent is ordered to enter a rehabilitation program, before regaining custody or visitation privileges. A judge might also determine that a parent is unfit if he or she abandons a child. An experienced family law attorney can provide guidance and support to any parent who is considering filing a sole custody petition based on allegations that the other parent is unfit.