Parents in Texas who are getting a divorce may want to become familiar with matters related to child custody. This includes understanding what an “unfit parent” may be, along with how Texas legally defines and determines who an unfit parent is.
There is a broad definition of unfit parenting. Additionally, each specific state has its own definition which is used in court to determine who unfit parents are. Findlaw takes a look at what makes a parent unfit by the broad definition first. It typically means that the parent in question does not provide for the child’s best interest, or take them into consideration in their decisions, actions, behaviors, or habits. By Texas law specifically, an unfit parent is considered anyone who could potentially have a significant and negative impact on a child’s emotional development or physical health.
Examples of behavior that could get a parent labeled unfit include neglect, abandonment, or active abuse. It can also involve the parent having an addiction or showing no interest in holding responsibility for the care of the child in question through their words or actions.
In particularly severe cases, a parent might be considered unfit from the beginning. They will have to prove that this isn’t true through clear evidence, rather than being innocent until proven guilty. This includes if a parent has three or more felony convictions or if they have been convicted of a crime of depravity such as sexual assault.
The threat of losing custody of a child is very real if you find yourself leveled with accusations of being an unfit parent. For this reason, it is important to go into the divorce already understanding the definition and legal requirements.