What makes a parent unfit?

When parents are fighting over custody of a child, one might accuse the other of being an unfit parent. This can come with threats to take a child away and promises that the allegedly unfit parent will never see the child again.

If you are the person on the receiving end of these threats, then you are likely very scared about what the future holds for your relationship with your child. However, before you take what the other parent says as fact, you should understand the decision is not left up to him or her. There are laws in Texas that dictate when a parent may not receive custody.

Factors that could jeopardize custody

The courts have discretion when it comes to deciding whether to award custody or not, but generally speaking, the following factors could result in the court’s decision not to appoint joint managing conservatorship to a parent.

  • Evidence of sexual abuse committed within the last two years
  • Evidence of physical abuse committed within the last two years
  • A history of sexual assault
  • A history of committing family violence
  • Patterns of child neglect
  • Any behaviors or incidences involving a parent that puts a child’s heath or welfare in danger

Contrary to what the other parent might say, personal flaws or differences in parenting styles generally won’t result in loss of custody. In the eyes of the law, it is in a child’s best interests to have “frequent and continuing contact” with both parents as long as both can provide a stable and safe environment.

If you have any concerns about factors that may or may not affect custody of a child or your rights as a parent, you can consult an attorney. With legal guidance, you can more clearly understand your options and accurately assess your situation.