Q:

What constitutes an unfit parent?

A:

Quick Answer

According to USLegal, the criteria that determines an unfit parent varies by state. In general, the parent in question is legally unable to retain parental rights due to abuse, negligence or an inability to accept the responsibility of a dependent minor (as in the case of mental instability).

Continue Reading
What constitutes an unfit parent?
Credit: Annie Otzen Moment Getty Images

Full Answer

Minella Law Group states that the deciding of custody is a direct effect of a fitness hearing or a child custody evaluation. For example, California courts determine fitness, and thereby custody, by evaluating 10 areas of parental behavior both current and past. These are:

  • Age-appropriate limitations wherein the parent only allows activities that are in context with the child's age
  • The parent's ability to recognize the child's needs and respond in an appropriate and timely fashion
  • The parent's history of providing care for the child
  • The parent's history of cooperating with the child's other parent to provide appropriate care
  • The parent's history of child abuse with this child or other children
  • The parent's physically or emotionally abusive behavior towards the other parent particularly in front of the child
  • The use of illegal drugs or the abuse of alcohol or prescriptions drugs
  • The parent's social adjustment
  • The child's comfort and feelings towards the parent

USLegal explains that some U.S. states require fitness hearings and a period of time in which the parent is allowed to correct the problem prior to terminating parental rights. Abandonment, whether in terms of support or the actual physical abandonment of a child, and incarceration can be cause for finding a parent unfit.

Learn more about Parenting

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What makes a good foster parent?

    A:

    A good foster parent must be dependable, caring, understanding, motivating, patient, tolerant adaptive and a great communicator. Foster parents must genuinely care for the children they foster to provide a structured, positive atmosphere that encourages healthy development.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How can I persuade my 21-year-old son to move out?

    A:

    To get a full-grown child to move out, the parent should explain the importance of learning independence and how living there directly affects the parent. Having an adult son or daughter living at home is counterproductive to the child becoming self-sufficient, and it places a strain on the parent. Reassure him that he is not being cast out and can ask for help when needed.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is good parenting?

    A:

    There are many schools of thought regarding how to be a good parent, ranging from establishing strict Gina Ford-style routines and boundaries to the more sensitive and child-focused "attachment parenting." While there is no "one" definitive approach to good parenting, there are numerous universal techniques and principles that can be applied. These include setting and enforcing limits, encouraging independence and spending quality time with the child.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What information is included on a parenting plan?

    A:

    There are four components to most parenting plans: how decisions are made about the children, when each parent spends time with the children, how information gets exchanged and how other parenting concerns should be addressed. Other considerations include contact with dating partners and family, anticipated changes to the plan and child care arrangements.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore