Let’s face it; divorce is messy. Unfortunately, the children of divorce often become leverage that one parent tries to use against the other. For example, it’s tempting for parents who are embittered by the end of their marital relationship to “punish” each other in a custody battle. Some may even go so far as trying to terminate the parental rights of the other parent.
One of the tactics used by some Colorado custody lawyers is to prove the other parent unfit. While there are certainly some cases where this strategy makes sense, it can be very damaging when used as a way to gain leverage, and the best family court judges can usually see through it. But even in the rare case where a parent is declared “unfit” for shared custody, they are rarely prevented from having a relationship with the children. What may happen instead is limited parenting time or supervised visitation.
However, there are cases where the behavior of a parent goes beyond “unfit” and a court may choose to terminate their parental rights. For this to occur, the parent in question must have proven incidents of abuse or neglect toward the children, or other actions that could endanger the child’s safety.
Proving a parent to be “unfit” may not be easy.
If you are attempting to prove in a custody hearing that the other parent is unfit, then be prepared to do your research. The court will need to see documentation of your claims, including any criminal history, drug abuse, domestic violence or other allegations that point toward unsavory activities. Next, they will request a psychological evaluation of the parent, and possibly the child as well. The child’s medical records and other backup information will be subpoenaed by the court, and external caregivers may be asked to testify.
Based on one parent’s allegations in a custody hearing, and with little evidence to back it up, a Colorado court will rarely declare that a parent is unfit. Similarly, without the proper documentation and evidence, a court cannot attempt to terminate parental rights.
If you are facing a nasty custody battle in Colorado, or you are trying to terminate the parental rights of an abusive parent, the parenting rights attorneys at the Marrison Family Law LLC can help. Contact them today for a free consultation.