As previously discussed on our blog, when it comes to child custody arrangements, Texas courts prefer to split time and child care responsibilities equally between the parents. However, in cases where one of the parents is unfit to raise the child, joint child custody arrangements may not be in the best interest of the child. If you believe your ex cannot handle their parenting responsibilities, you will need to prove to the court that they are unfit to parent your child.
Courts will consider a number of factors when determining whether a parent is unfit to raise a child. Generally, Texas law defines an unfit parent as someone whose involvement with the child would negatively affect the child’s physical or emotional health and development. Courts will first look at whether there is a history of abuse or neglect. If the court finds the parent is physically or sexually abusing the child or failing to provide the basic level of child care, the court may deem the parent unfit.
If you are trying to establish that your child’s other parent is unfit, you will need to present supporting evidence. Any photos, videos, or audio files showing physical or verbal abuse, medical records detailing injuries to the child, and threatening texts from the other parent may be useful, but you can also have character witnesses testify on your behalf. A strong witness would be someone who has seen the other parent putting your child in harm’s way.
If the court finds that a parent is unfit, they may grant the other parent full custody, deny the unfit parent’s visitation rights, or terminate the unfit parent’s parental rights all together. A family law attorney can build a case to establish the unfitness of your child’s other parent and help ensure that your child is always safe and well taken care of.