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What is an unfit parent?

One thing that may lead to a mother or father losing their right to see or take care of their children is being determined unfit. However, what you believe is an unfit parent may not be the same as what the law dictates to be unfit.

The legal definition of an unfit parent is a parent who has failed to provide for a child, abused a child or neglected a child. Sometimes, parents who have addictions to drugs or alcohol will be deemed unfit, although it's possible to regain custody following treatment.

What should you do if you think your ex-spouse is an unfit parent?

This is something very serious to allege, so you need to make sure you have evidence to back your claims. For example, if you saw your ex-spouse hit your child, that's first-hand knowledge of abuse, but you should also try to obtain recordings and/or statements from your child or the other parent and photographs of bruising, cuts or other injuries.

If the other parent is addicted to drugs or alcohol, calling the police or getting them admitted into a substance abuse treatment program could be enough evidence to prove that they are not currently fit to parent your child or children.

Keep in mind that not all people who are deemed unfit to parent will remain unfit for the entire life of their child. Many people do recover from illnesses or earn back some custody through supervised visitation and therapy. So long as so-called unfit parents do as a court orders, there is often a chance that they can again become part of their children's lives.

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