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Oct 19 2022

What Factors Make Someone an Unfit Parent in Divorce?

During divorce proceedings, many decisions will be made in regard to how a couple should divide aspects of their marriage. For example, a court will decide how property is to be distributed and how any acquired debt should be paid. If a couple has children together, the court will also need to examine custody arrangements and make a decision based on the best interests of the child. However, several factors can contribute to a parent is deemed unfit to care for the child. At Atticus Family Law, we’re here to help explain how Minnesota courts determine custody arrangements and what factors make someone an unfit parent. 

What Are the Different Types of Custody Arrangements?

Minnesota law outlines two different types of child custody arrangements, physical and legal custody. Those with legal custody are responsible for making important decisions for the child, including medical needs, education, and religious background. Physical custody refers to the primary residence of the child. It’s possible for parents to be assigned joint physical custody, meaning that the child will spend time with both parents as the court deems fit. If a parent is found to be unfit to abide by joint custody arrangements, the court may rule to give one sole parent custody of the child. 

What Can Contribute to Being Deemed an Unfit Parent?

Different factors can contribute to why a parent may not receive custody of their child. Here are some reasons why a court may deny a parent custody privileges:

  •    Any Instances of Abuse

If a parent has been found guilty of abusing their child, whether it’s currently happening or previously occurred, it can result in a denial of child custody. The court will always make decisions for the child that align with their best interests, meaning that the child must be safe with the individual responsible for their care. Instances of abuse, either physical or emotional, can make a parent unfit to care for their child. 

  •    Substance Abuse 

If a parent struggles with substance abuse, such as alcohol or drugs, they can be found to be an unfit parent, especially if the abuse directly affects the child. A court must ensure that a child is safe and the behavior that can result as a consequence of substance abuse may risk putting the child in harm’s way. 

  •    Inability to Care for the Child’s Needs 

If a parent has proven that they are incapable of caring for the child’s needs, such as having no income or place of residency, they may be found unfit to parent. A parent must be able to prove that they can provide the basic necessities for a child, including housing, clothing, and food. If they are unable to do so, they will likely not be permitted to have their child living with them. 

Contact Us Today

If you have questions about factors that would make someone an unfit parent, contact us today. We’re happy to help with anything you need.

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