Keeping Your Parental Rights Safe: A Guide to Child Custody Cases

Sharing is caring!

Having children is a blessing. It’s an experience filled with love, joy, excitement, and plenty of laughs. While worry and fear for children’s health and safety enter the mix and a few tense moments and frustrations may come into play, parenthood is an incomparable adventure. That being said, many parents have descended into heartbreak and despair as their custodial rights were limited or eliminated.

Taking a Closer Look at Custody Cases

Thousands of custody cases arise each year in the United States. Reports show that the majority of parents resolve custody matters without legal intervention. In about half of those instances, parents mutually agree that the mother should have primary custody. Of course, not all instances go quite so smoothly. Many parents disagree on who should be granted custody and how visitation should be carried out. When that happens, a child custody case will go to trial, and a judge will make the final decisions.

How Child Custody Is Decided

Courts take several factors into account when determining how custody should be divided or whether both parents should be granted custodial rights. All those aspects revolve around the child’s best interests. Having enough income and a stable home for the child are considered, but those elements alone won’t necessarily be the deciding factors. Certain other issues often solidify one parent’s custodial rights while destroying the other’s.

Parenting Ability

One of the primary factors courts consider is each parent’s willingness and ability to take care of the child in question. If a parent is demanding custody but hasn’t been a significant presence in the child’s life, that will certainly influence a judge’s decision. At the same time, each parent’s views on proper childcare, discipline, age-appropriate limitations, and responsiveness to the child’s needs will factor into the equation. If a parent appears too lax in setting boundaries or oblivious to a child’s needs, that may render him or her unfit.

Mental Illnesses

Courts also look at mental illnesses when determining child custody. Anxiety and depression are becoming increasingly common these days. In most situations, those disorders alone aren’t enough to take away parental rights as long as they don’t interfere with parenting ability and the child’s welfare. Still, certain other mental disorders may alter a parent’s capacity to care for a child. Those might include schizophrenia and agoraphobia, to name a couple. Those disorders could sway a judge’s custody decision.

Violence, Neglect, and Substance Abuse

Additional factors judges use to determine custody and visitation rights are histories of violence and abuse, obvious signs of neglect, and substance abuse. The use of illicit drugs in the presence of a child will most likely cause a judge to deny parental rights. If substance abuse reaches the point where it interferes with a parent’s judgment and ability to meet a child’s needs, it’ll bring about the same result. Those who have proven histories of violence, such as domestic abuse and convictions for violent crimes, aren’t likely to be granted custody of a child.

Protecting Parental Rights

Courts consider several factors when deciding whether a parent should be granted custody. Those listed above are among the most prominent though others also come into play. Financial capacity and whether the child appears to feel safe and comfortable with the parent are considered. Courts aspire to ensure children are safe and well cared for. Though judges sometimes decide that children are best served by both parents, the factors listed above can certainly lead to a determination that one parent shouldn’t have custody.