What Factors Does a Court Consider to Declare a Parent Unfit?

Divorcesource.com notes that in Arizona, the court considers the parent's treatment of the child, whether or not the parent engages in substance abuse and his criminal record when determining if a parent is unfit. The court may also take into account the parent's behavior and how it potentially impacts the child's mental and physical well-being. A parent can also be deemed unfit if the child is abandoned or neglected.

The laws determining what factors are considered when deeming a parent unfit for custody may vary slightly by state. DivorceNet.com notes that a parent can be determined unfit for custody in Georgia by abandoning or mistreating a child or by failing to provide a child with basic life necessities, such as food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment and education. The court requires undeniable, clear evidence that a parent is acting in a way that is detrimental to the child for the parent to be deemed unfit.

According to Castronovo & McKinney Family & Divorce Law, in the state of New Jersey, a parent can be deemed unfit by the court if the parent is unable to provide a safe and stable environment. To deem a parent unfit, the court can consider medical records, school records that demonstrate excessive absences, psychological evaluations, police reports and drug and alcohol tests.