People typically think that all parents love and want what is best for their children, but not all people have the ability to provide a child with a safe and caring environment. People who are unfit to raise a child face the risk of losing parental rights, as the courts’ foremost concern is what is in a child’s best interest. If you believe your child’s other parent is incapable of adequately caring for your child or you have been accused of being an unfit parent, it is critical to speak to an attorney as soon as possible to determine what measures you can take to protect your rights. If you have been accused of unfit parenting, the knowledgeable Dallas child custody lawyers of McClure Law Group can advise you of your options and help you fight to obtain the most beneficial outcome for you and your child.Proving a Parent is Unfit
A court’s primary concern in cases affecting the parent-child relationship is what is in the best interest of the child involved. In other words, a court will aim to provide the child with a stable, non-violent, and safe environment. Pursuant to those goals, a judge will generally terminate or limit the parental rights of a person deemed an unfit parent.
The Texas Family Code does not explicitly define what constitutes an unfit parent. Rather, a judge may consider several factors in assessing whether a parent should have access or conservatorship rights with regards to a child. For example, the court may weigh whether a parent or anyone in the parent’s household has a history of engaging in family violence, neglect, or sexual abuse. The court may also consider whether a parent struggles with drug or alcohol addiction, voluntarily abandoned the child, or has been found criminally responsible for the injury or death of a child.
The courts usually cannot deem a parent unfit solely because a parent is economically disadvantaged, chooses not to vaccinate a child, or could not comply with provisions of a court order. Typically, a conviction for a non-violent misdemeanor offense will not render a parent unfit either, with some exceptions.
As the courts aim to protect parent-child relationships, they will not limit or end parental rights without just cause. Therefore, a party alleging a parent is unfit typically must produce competent evidence, which may include medical records, police reports, and testimony from child psychologists or people who work for child services.Consequences of Unfit Parenting
The impact that a person’s inappropriate behavior will have on his or her parental rights often varies depending on the degree of risk such conduct poses to the person’s child. For example, a court may decline to grant conservatorship rights to a parent with a pattern of sexual or physical abuse or child neglect. Additionally, a court may deny a parent possession of or access to a child if the parent has a history of committing sexual abuse or family violence.
In cases involving extreme acts, the court may terminate a parent’s rights altogether. In Texas, numerous behaviors are considered grounds for termination. For example, if a child is born addicted to a controlled substance or alcohol, a court can terminate parental rights. A court can also legally sever the parent-child relationship if a parent willingly leaves a child with a person other than the child’s other parent without an intent to return or places the child in a dangerous environment. Many criminal convictions can lead to the termination of parental rights as well.Speak to an Experienced Child Custody Attorney
The experienced child custody attorneys of McClure Law Group are well-versed in what it takes to obtain a favorable result in child custody matters, and if you hire us, we will fight diligently to help you seek the best outcome available under the circumstances. We regularly assist people with unfit parenting and other family law issues in Dallas, Rockwall, Fort Worth, Garland, Richardson, Frisco, Fort McKinney, and Irving. We also frequently represent people in family law matters in cities throughout Dallas, Denton, Grayson, Collin, Rockwall, and Tarrant Counties. You can contact us to set up a conference via our form online or by calling 214.692.8200.