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4 Factors Used to Determine if a Parent is Unfit for Custody

4 Factors Used to Determine if a Parent is Unfit for Custody

Most parents want to spend as much time with their children as possible. However, in some situations, it is not in the child’s best interest.

There are situations where parents may be unfit for custody. If you are dealing with this type of situation, seeking guidance from our child custody attorneys in Gaithersburg immediately is essential. Our team will help you better understand the laws and your rights as a parent.

What is Considered an Unfit Parent?

If parents are unable to agree on a custody order, the judge cannot simply deny one parent the right to spend time with their child based on allegations. Evidence must be presented, which may include a custody evaluation to determine whether a parent has the potential to cause danger to the health or well-being of a child.

Factors Considered When Determining if a Parent Is Unfit

The following issues may lead a court to determine that a parent is unfit to have custody or unsupervised access:

1. Any History of Domestic Violence

The court will evaluate each domestic violence claim on a case-by-case basis to determine if it will impact a parent’s ability to care for their child. The court will consider whether the child was abused and/or witnessed the instances of domestic abuse, how often it occurred, and the specific circumstances surrounding the acts of violence. A child custody evaluator may be appointed to investigate any allegations, which will include a search of  Child Welfare Services’ cases to determine whether a parent has previously been accused of abuse or neglect and the outcomes. Handling extreme accusations without the help of child custody attorneys in Gaithersburg may jeopardize your parental rights. If you have a history of domestic abuse or your child’s other parent was abusive toward you, it is in your best interest to seek immediate representation from our Maryland family lawyers to ensure your rights are protected.

2. Severe Mental Health Issues

Suffering from depression, anxiety, or even post-traumatic stress disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. However, a psychiatric illness may be a factor considered when establishing whether a parent is unfit. The court will evaluate the level of risk that a specific mental illness poses to the child’s health and well-being. The court will consider whether or not the child will be safe in the parent’s custody or if mental illness may be an issue. Working with Maryland family lawyers will ensure you do not have any mental illness held against you should your child’s other parent accuse you of having a mental illness that prevents you from parent.

3. Alcohol or Drug Abuse

If a parent has a history of substance abuse and has not sought treatment, he/she may be considered unfit to care for the child. A parent who is actively abusing drugs or alcohol may quickly jeopardize the mental and physical health and well-being of the child. In these situations, courts may consider a parent who is a person with an addiction to be unfit to care for their child.

4. Any Allegations of Abuse or Neglect

If a parent has a prior history of abuse or neglect, they may be considered unfit for custody.

Get Help from Our Maryland Family Lawyers Today

Contact our Maryland family lawyers for guidance when dealing with a complex custody case. At Brodsky Renehan Pearlstein & Bouquet, we are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality legal services regarding family law matters. Our seasoned child custody attorneys in Gaithersburg approach each case with a focused and personalized strategy, considering every client’s unique needs and desired outcome.

With over 70 years of combined experience representing divorce and family law cases in Maryland and D.C., we have the knowledge, experience, and dedication to navigate even the most complex legal situations. We are proud to be amongst the leading divorce lawyers in our area and will continue to strive to help our clients achieve their goals through efficient representation.

Contact us today to schedule a confidential family law case evaluation.


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