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Is your ex unfit for child custody? How to prove it in court

As one of many Texas parents who filed for divorce this year, you can likely relate to those who say they worry about their children's well-being when it comes to custody issues. If you and your ex have a solid co-parenting plan and a strong support network, you might feel confident that your kids will bounce back quickly and be able to move on in life without lasting repercussions.

On the other hand, you might be among hundreds, if not thousands, of other parents who are deeply concerned because a co-parent is unfit. If this is so in your case, it's of paramount importance that you know your rights and how to protect them. In situations like yours, the first logical step to take is to bring the matter to the court's attention. If you know someone who has gone through a similar experience, his or her guidance and support may prove invaluable.

Types of child neglect that constitute unfit parenting

Regardless of why you and your spouse decided to divorce, your past marital problems do not necessarily mean your ex is not a fit parent for your children. However, the following list shows numerous issues that would indeed capture the court's attention if you believe it is not in your kids' best interests to live with or have visits with your ex:

  • If your ex lets the kids do things that endanger their well-being or are illegal, it is definitely a possible sign of neglect. For instance, does he or she let your kids skip school or smoke cigarettes?
  • Does your co-parent leave young children unsupervised for long periods of time? Failing to provide proper care and attention to minors may constitute child neglect.
  • Do you have evidence that your ex has a substance abuse problem? This would definitely be something the judge overseeing your case wants to know when making child custody decisions.
  • If you have reason to believe your children are at risk for physical, sexual or emotional abuse when in the presence of your ex, it is critical that you provide the court sufficient evidence to support your allegations.

The Texas family law system always has children's best interests in mind during child custody proceedings. In cases of unfit parenting, a judge may order supervised visits only or completely prohibit a parent from spending time with his or her children. Such situations can be stressful for all involved and emotionally traumatic for kids.

What you can do to help

You love your children and know what's best for them. When they witness your willingness to protect them and to provide love and support as they adapt to a post-divorce lifestyle, they are more likely to cope with life changes in a healthy manner. By seeking outside support as needed, you can help your children come to terms with a difficult divorce-related situation such as unfit parenting.

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