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Protecting your children's interests regarding unfit parenting

Especially if you and your spouse have been married and living in Florida for 10 years or more, you have likely disagreed at some point on issues related to your children. Perhaps, one of you is more lenient than the other. Maybe your kids know they can talk one parent into things more than the other one, so they use those "skills" to their advantage, which winds up causing friction in your marriage.

While those may not be the exact issues that prompted your decision to file for divorce, child-related problems may indeed be a factor. Most marriages have ups and downs, particularly concerning parenting. However, if you are concerned about your children's well-being because you believe your spouse to be unfit parent, that's an entirely different issue and one that warrants definite attention during divorce proceedings.

What constitutes unfit parenting in court?

A mere difference of opinion between parents isn't enough to convince a judge that one parent is unfit. If you plan to make a formal accusation, you must be able to show evidence that substantiates your claim. For instance, if you have evidence that your spouse has physically or emotionally abused your children, it will definitely get the court's attention.

Another common issue in child custody cases involving unfit parenting allegations is substance abuse. Your children's safety and well-being may be at risk if your ex is addicted to drugs or alcohol. In fact, using drugs in the presence of children is a serious crime. If you have evidence that your former spouse is mentally ill, this is also another issue that may lead a judge to rule him or her unfit for custody at this time.

A fit parent can provide for typical financial needs

If your spouse wants your kids to live with him or her, even on a part-time basis, he or she must be able to financially provide for your children's needs. If poverty is an issue, it is something the court will no doubt want to further investigate.

In addition to being able to provide for children's temporal needs, a fit parent also makes himself or herself available to the children in question as needed. If your ex never shows up to see the kids or leaves the house for days on end when the children are staying there, it may be reason enough for the judge overseeing your case to deem him or her unfit.

Where to seek support for unfit parenting issues

If substance abuse was a problem in your marriage, you might already be familiar with some programs in your community to help spouses and children cope with a parent's addiction. These types of issues often spark legal problems as well. Most Florida parents ask experienced family law attorneys to help them explore their options when planning to request sole custody.

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