When deciding on a custody case, the court looks out for the child’s best interest. While this would normally include involvement from both parents, if there is a question concerning one individual’s ability to parent, the court could deny custody or visitation by declaring this parent unfit.
Problematic issues that could lead to an unfit declaration include criminal history, mental instability, history of substance abuse and child neglect or abuse.
Documentation to support a custody decision
Before the court decides which parent receives custody, supporting documentation is necessary. If one parent is seeking sole custody because the other parent is unfit, the court will ask for substantial documentation to verify the claim. Possible documentation includes:
- Photographs or videos
- Police reports
- Medical files
- Eyewitness testimony
Although the court considers the evidence, the child’s overall well-being is still a priority. In many cases, the court evaluates whether the risk of the situation outweighs the possible benefits of spending some time with both parents.
Actions to sway the mind of the court
When it comes to judgment as a fit parent, it is not about being on your best behavior. The court knows that individuals will put on a good show when the court is in session or when an investigation takes place. The court wants to see consistency in a parent’s lifestyle and decision-making. Attending counseling or support meetings, keeping a job, staying current with bills and avoiding all drug or alcohol use can establish a positive impression on the court.
If negative things in your past impact your ability to parent, do not get discouraged by a court verdict. Take steps to improve your situation and revisit the custody situation later.