Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Vari & Associates, LLC.

Florida child custody topic of the week: unfit parents


Your Coral Gables child custody lawyers bring you their latest thoughts:

Are you concerned that your ex-spouse or parent of your child is not a fit parent? Do you want to know what to do in order to protect your child's safety and well-being? If you find yourself in this situation, there are a few things you can do during your Florida child custody case in order for a Miami child custody judge to determine that a parent is unfit and award him or her no visitation.

First and foremost, you need to have valid reasons for your belief that the parent is not fit to have custody. You can't just say that the parent is unfit because you are angry at them and don't want them to have contact with your child. Your reasoning needs to be logical and you need to be able to prove it. Making sure you get the facts straight is critical to presenting a compelling case that a parent is not fit to have custody of his or her child. The main goal, and the thing that will convince a judge that a parent is not fit, is to prove that the parent is either neglecting or abusing the child physically or emotionally.

Do your homework on the parent. Even if you were married to someone for ten years, there may be many things about them and their past that you are unaware of. Any past mistakes and indiscretions may have a bearing on how a court views a parent. Research everything you can about the parent you are trying to prove is unfit. Any records proving drug use, criminal charges, or anything similar will be strong evidence to show that the parent is not fit to have custody of the child.

Ask for evaluations. It is common in child custody cases for physiological evaluations to be conducted in order to determine the mental state of the parent. If you are trying to prove that a parent is unfit, it is critical that you request that the parent be evaluated by a psychologist. The opinion expressed by the psychologist will be respected by the Miami child custody judge and taken into consideration when the judge is making his final decision about custody.

Prove impact on the child. It may not always be allowed, but it is worth a shot to ask the judge if he or she will allow a psychological evaluation of the child to be done. Evidence of emotional abuse will be evident to a professional evaluating the child, so this will be an indication of a parent being unfit. School records and medical records may also be indicators of abuse, so these should also be obtained when relevant to the case.

Keep in mind, however, that any evidence you present during your Miami child custody case needs to be compelling. The law is intended to protect the best interest of the child, and the law believes that it is in a child's best interest to have contact with both parents, so a judge will not label a parent unfit unless it is proven that he or she really is not fit. The first step in your child custody case should be to consult with a Miami child custody lawyer, like our Florida child custody attorneys at Vari & Associates.

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