How Do You Prove a Parent to Be Unfit?
Courts distinguish marital faults from misconduct that indicates an unfit parent. In other words, proof of a horrible spouse does not automatically deem that spouse an unfit parent, and seeking custody doesn’t have to eliminate parenting time. Although no one is legally required to parent perfectly, the court can decide that the dangerously imperfect are unfit.
A well-documented history of the other parent’s behavior—including photographs; audio/video recordings; medical files detailing injuries, criminal records, and prior arrests; treatment for addiction or mental health; diary entries; and direct correspondence—should be provided to the New Jersey family court at a custody hearing. Behaviors that characterise the unfit parent include:
- Drug or alcohol use: trafficking in illegal substances, addiction to controlled substances, or altered mental capacity
- Abuse: domestic abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, excessive discipline, or a history of violence
- Severe medical condition or mental illness: certified health issues
- Incarceration: current and past convictions for [sexual] offenses
- Neglect or abandonment: any situation lacking adequate food, clothing, education, or shelter (including safe conditions, personal space, heating, and plumbing)
- Poor judgment: generally inadequate supervision, unhealthy environments, or exposure to dangerous individuals
The strength of your custody case may depend on whether your evidence reveals your biases and manipulations, rather than the other parent’s unfitness. Only concrete, convincing evidence will overpower the New Jersey family court’s tendency to preserve relationships between parent and child.
By the same token, while a parent’s confessed adultery may not impact a custody or parenting time award, excessively bad-mouthing the other parent, or exposing your new paramour too soon, may lead the court to side against you. Family courts try to insulate children from situations that could discolor their relationship with the other parent, especially within a short time from the separation or divorce.
Call us at 1-855-9-JEFLAW any time to discuss your case
Our diligent and tenacious child custody lawyers will step up to the plate and go to bat for you, putting together a visitation schedule that works for everyone in your family. Call our hotline: 1-855-9-JEFLAW for a free consultation about your New Jersey family law and child custody issues.
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