What makes a parent “unfit”.

By Robin Roshkind, Esquire, West Palm Beach, Florida

When it comes to time sharing with children, or paternity actions where the father is finally adjudicated the father by DNA testing, the court has to determine the best interests of the child/ren.  The same holds true for cases where a parent wants to relocate and the other parent does not give permission and a court order is sought.

Allegations of “unfit parent” can arise to thwart the relationship of the “undesireable” parent.  However, “undesireable” is not the same as “unfit”. 

Under the laws of the State of Florida, BOTH child and parent have rights,  UNLESS a parent is adjudicated “unfit” in a court of law.  The case law defines “unfit” as a parent who is unable to take care of him or herself…unable to take care of the child…one who abandons, abuses or neglects a child…an alcoholic, a drug abuser, a party person til 3 am every night…you get the picture.

Parents may not agree with parenting styles or decisionmaking or even lifestyles of the other parent, but that is not enough to make a parent “unfit” in the eyes of the law.  

The way courts handle an unfit parent is to order supervised time sharing, order parenting classes, order the parent to counseling, order the parent to a psych evaluation, and to take normal rights away until the parent is rehabilitated and the child is safe with that parent. 

For more information about this or other divorce topics, call one of the attorneys at ROBIN ROSHKIND, P.A. at 561-835-9091 or click on the Firm’s web site at www.familylawwpb.com.