With any type of child custody battle, parents are typically fighting for physical and legal control over their children. The question of who will have custody is often very emotional and difficult to decide upon. Your Bellevue child custody attorney can make the situation go much smoother and present your case in the right manner to the judge.
Sometimes it’s not even about which home or family would be best for the kids; sometimes, it’s just because one parent wants more time with their children than another parent does. This can lead to an argument between both sides as they try to present evidence on why their side is worthy. Bellevue child custody attorneys can step in and assist during these situations, ensuring everyone receives a fair outcome.
Even though these cases may seem like civil battles, there are still some rules in place to help keep everyone involved informed throughout the process. One such rule states that “the court shall consider all relevant factors including those enumerated by statute.” It’s important to be aware of all of the language involved with these cases.
It can often be difficult, which is why Bellevue child custody attorneys are present to help navigate these difficult situations. Unfortunately, it’s not always about joint custody between two willing and able parents.
In certain cases, a parent could be unfit to hold custody and care for the children. However, this isn’t a blanket or one-size-fits-all issue. Judges use specific criteria to determine whether one parent or the other may be unfit to care for the children. It’s a Bellevue child custody attorney’s job to make sure you present yourself as fit and caring.
There are many different types of reasons that could cause someone to believe that either party is unfit to care for the children. In most situations, the courts look at certain things before making a final judgment call.
These include criminal charges, substance abuse issues, mental health problems, domestic violence involvement, severe medical conditions, and neglectful parenting skills. Here we’ll take a closer look at what each of these things means and how judges use them when deciding whether one parent should get sole custody of children in these cases.
Judge’s Determination and Help from Your Bellevue Child Custody Attorney
Judges will use a number of different determining factors when making a decision on a parent being unfit for child care. These decisions are hardly ever easy and many times can be extremely difficult for the children involved.
Bellevue child custody attorneys are often required to help in these situations and can make things much easier for all parties involved. This is true regardless of which side of the fence you are on.
If you’re a parent that doesn’t have custody of the children and believes the other parent is unfit, it can be important that you receive the right outcome for the safety of your children. Alternatively, if you’re a parent that’s being accused of being unfit, you have two choices.
You take a stand and prove that these chargers are unwarranted, and you fight for custody of your kids – or you own up to your shortcomings and do what you must to get yourself together for the sake of your children. Either way, a Bellevue child custody attorney can help regardless of which side of the coin you exist on.
In order to help in your campaign, these are some of the criteria that judges use to determine if a parent isn’t fit.
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Many people think that having criminal charges against you means that you’re automatically unfit to raise children. While it is true that many times a person charged with a crime has lost their job, been evicted from their house, etc., these situations do not necessarily indicate unfitness.
For example, if the charge is minor (such as trespassing), then chances are good that you won’t lose custody or see yourself incarcerated. However, if the offense was violent, especially involving children, the situation becomes much worse.
Having a history of arrests or convictions for crimes related to minors is enough to show that you are unfit to handle parental duties. Additionally, if you were convicted of a felony, it can also affect your ability to obtain custody, depending on where you live. Some areas require two years without contact with anyone under 18, while others only need one year.
As long as there hasn’t been any recent activity concerning your conviction(s), then you shouldn’t worry too much. It is important to talk with your Bellevue child custody attorney about specific laws within your state regarding criminal records.
Substance Abuse Issues
Substance abuse is something that affects every aspect of a person’s life. And unfortunately, it doesn’t discriminate based on race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, social class, age, gender identity, disability, marital status, or background.
When alcohol or drugs enter into a relationship, it causes harm to almost everyone around them. Unfortunately, it can become so bad that it ends up affecting the well-being of the adults and children involved and eventually leads to divorce.
However, substance abuse isn’t always indicative of being unfit to parent your own children. Being addicted to substances such as methamphetamines or cocaine usually requires treatment programs that may include counseling or therapy sessions.
Most families work through this issue together and come out stronger afterward. An evaluation done by a professional counselor can help evaluate the strength of addiction and determine if further action needs to be taken.
If you don’t feel comfortable working through the problem alone, then a non-profit organization called Parents Without Partners offers support services specifically designed to assist individuals dealing with co-occurring disorders such as drug and/or alcohol dependency. They offer assistance in finding housing, employment opportunities, educational resources, recreation activities, and other necessary tools needed to rebuild lives after becoming sober.
If you’re not aware of this program, ask your Bellevue child custody lawyer for literature regarding enrolment.
Mental Health Problems
Mental illness can range anywhere from anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other illnesses that affect mood or emotions. People who suffer from mental health issues face challenges that normal citizens never encounter.
For example, taking the medication regularly, maintaining proper nutrition levels, managing finances, caring for aging relatives and friends, handling personal relationships, and providing adequate supervision to young children can be extremely stressful tasks. Because of this, many people end up seeking counseling, guidance or talking with loved ones about coping mechanisms.
Unfortunately, many people choose to deal with their mental health issues themselves instead of getting help from professionals. Not doing so can result in serious consequences, particularly if the condition worsens and becomes unmanageable.
A lack of management of mental health can lead to serious side effects and consequences. Many times judges will use social workers to judge the home setting or behaviors of the parent in question.
If you exhibit any of the following behaviors, it may lead to a judge determining you’re unfit to care for your children alone:
Hallucinations, paranoia, delusional thinking, suicidal tendencies, self-harm, homicidal ideations, agitation, hostility, aggression, panic attacks, rage, loss of interest in daily living, poor impulse control, impaired memory, and concentration, confusion, disorientation, dementia, personality changes, mania, hypomania, psychosis, major depressive episodes, bulimia, binge eating, compulsive gambling, or anything else that negatively affects the quality of life can disqualify anyone from having custody of their children.
All of these symptoms can create dangerous scenarios that put children at great risk for injury or death. It seems like an extremely long list, and it might be. However, this is the type of criteria judges must use to determine who is in charge of the delicate lives of children.
Naturally, many of these mental challenges may be through no fault of your own. However, it is your responsibility to get help, which is what you must do if you want custody of your children. Your Bellevue child custody attorney can help you with resources.
Domestic Violence Involvement
Domestic violence occurs when an adult uses force or puts the fear of force to gain power or control over another individual. This includes acts of assault, battery, stalking, harassment, threats, kidnapping, forced prostitution, and murder.
Physical abuse is defined as hitting, slapping, shoving, kicking, punching, choking, beating with objects, burning, and similar forms of trauma inflicted deliberately, repeatedly, habitually, or maliciously. In these cases, there’s not much your Bellevue child custody attorney can do to sway the judge.
Psychological abuse is defined as verbal threats, insults, name-calling, derogatory comments, taunting, blaming, berating, humiliating, intimidating, isolating, degradation, guilt trips, putting down, sarcasm, contemptuous behavior, withholding basic necessities, controlling behavior, undermining, telling lies, spreading rumors, false accusations, character assassination, and cyberbullying.
Anyone suffering from domestic violence must seek immediate intervention for protection from continued abuse. Children exposed to domestic violence may grow up feeling unsafe in their homes, lacking trust in authority figures, causing low self-esteem, developing behavioral difficulties, experiencing academic failure, and violent tendencies.
This is one of the fastest ways to have a judge deny you custody. Any Bellevue child custody attorney will tell you that domestic violence situations are no joke.
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Severe Medical Condition
Severe chronic medical conditions can prevent healthy lifestyles and hinder a person’s ability to properly care for themselves or their children. While there is no set rule for specific conditions, there are many occasions where a parent is physically unable to care for their children, in which case custody may need to be awarded to the other parent or another family member.
However, it’s worth noting that other options are normally exhausted in these situations, assuming that the parent is fit in every other category. Homecare nurses or other agencies that provide help may prevent a negative custodial decision, depending on what resources are available.
Child custody cases are emotionally draining, especially for the children. It’s important that these matters are settled in the least mentally damaging way possible for the youths involved.
Hiring a Bellevue Child Custody Attorney to Help You and Your Family
If you need a Bellevue child custody attorney, Aberdeen Law Firm can help. We have years of experience in navigating family law and can help you reach the healthiest outcome possible for your children and family.