When a parent is unable to provide proper care, guidance, support, or ensure the safety of a child, the state of California may determine that the parent is unfit. This can lead to additional actions such as a formal investigation, loss of custody or visitation, and loss of parental rights.
With that said, this is a heavy-handed and uncommon approach that family law court officials try to keep only as a last resort. The state emphasizes a relationship with both parents, and will only remove a parent from the equation when the circumstances are serious or when there is clear, present danger to the child. As you can imagine, allegations of a parent being unfit must be backed up with thorough evidence.
Factors that Can Determine if a Parent is Unfit
When someone is looking to establish that a parent is unfit, he/she is going to have to provide proof of behaviors or factors such as:
- Domestic violence
- Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
- Mental illness
- Substance abuse
- Incarceration or criminal activity/behavior
Thankfully, the courts have mechanisms in place to help with this. During child custody proceedings, any parent can request that the courts conduct a child custody evaluation. This ensures that the courts weigh towards a decision that is best aligned with the best interests of the child.
Factors that are Not Assessed During a Custody Evaluation
While the child custody evaluations look at things such as the primary residences of both parents, the relationships between all involved parties, and evidence/presence of the factors above, there are a few factors that are not assessed or looked at during the evaluation. These include:
- FInancial status
- Sexual orientation
Based on the outcome of a child custody evaluation, the court-appointed evaluator could make the determination that a parent is unfit. The outcome could also lead to limited or supervised visitation, as well as a denial of custody or visitation rights.
Talk to a Family Law Attorney Today
When this much is at stake, it’s critical that you have the aid of a reputable and knowledgeable legal professional on your side. At the Law Offices of James P. White, we’re here to help you navigate any and all matters relating to child custody, divorce, and more.
Call us today at 925-271-0999 to book a free initial consultation. Let our compassionate and knowledgeable family law attorneys help you formulate an approach for your upcoming child custody or divorce proceedings in CA.