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Author Topic: what is an unfit parent in alabama  (Read 4935 times)
Posts: 1

« on: January 13, 2009, 02:46:18 AM »

what makes an unfit parent in the state of alabama?

the reason i am asking is that i am going through a child support hearing that is going to result in a visit. hearing. with a father that has never seen his child ever for 10 years.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2009, 07:17:18 PM by jennorr » Logged
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Posts: 275

« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2009, 04:15:04 PM »

This is not going to be the absolute definitive answer on this subject but there are two parts to being unfit.  One part is in relation to the other parent.  The other part is an absolute.  If a parent is abusive to their children either sexually, physically, or neglectfullly they are absolutely an unfit parent.  I'm sure DHR can give you a laundry list of what a parent can do to have their children taken away from them. 

If neither parent is absolutely unfit then a judge is put into the position of deciding which parent is "better" fit to care for a child when custody has to be decided.  The parent that consistently demonstrates that they put a child's needs ahead of everything else should fare better when brought under the scrutiny of court.  The parent that grabs all the assets and abandon's the child to the care of the other parent is not demonstrating that their first priority is the child's needs. 

Hope this helps.  Remember that a custody battle is a civil rather than a criminal matter.  So, the result will not be handled like a murder case where a decision has to be made "beyond a reasonable doubt".  The evidence presented in a civil matter is not nearly as rigorous as in a criminal case nor is it scrutinized to the same degree as say a jury of 12 people might.  A judge will make a decision based on what is presented by both parties and whatever prejudices they bring with them if any.  Judges are not infallable and they generally never make everyone involved happy.  This is why it is so important to try and keep your disputes out of court if at all possible. 
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2009, 11:14:42 PM »

Also... there will be a somewhat different standard if it is an original custody case versus an attempted modification. In the former, it will be pretty much like CollegeDad stated. It will be a matter of relativity between the two parents. Note... many people feel that the system is biased against Dads. However, they tend to forget that far more frequently, Mom is the primary caretaker of the child, especially in the younger years. (Not always, but much more frequently.) And being the primary caregiver is an important factor.

When you're looking at modifying or changing custody (especially changing) - the standard is different. Judges do not like to change the status quo. So there needs to be proof that the parent is truly unfit. For that, we're talking about seriously neglecting or abusing the child. Being poor is not being unfit. Having to work extra hours to make ends meet is not being unfit.  Parenting differently (later bedtimes, more tv, music one parent doesn't like) ... is not being unfit. Unfit it putting the child at serious risk.

It would help, jennorr, if you gave us a bit more info.

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Lee Borden
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2009, 11:59:38 AM »

You're asking a very broad question. Perhaps if you told us more about the reason you're asking, we could provide more useful information.

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