Being involved in custody battles for your child is difficult all on its own. But what if you suspect the parent that has primary custody may be unfit, negligent, or even abusive to the child? Every state is different when it comes to court hearings of custody. Proving the other parent is unsuitable in the eyes of the law is not always easy but can be done. However, the child's wellbeing is the most crucial issue in any state in the country.
- A parent can be deemed unfit if they are neglectful, have a mental illness, abuse drugs or alcohol, or are incarcerated. It is best to research what your state considers unfit. You can visit your state court online to find out more.
- Gather evidence. Admissible evidence includes pictures, videos, audio files, and medical documentation of abuse and neglect. Evidence has to be solid concrete. Courts always try to protect the parent-child relationship if all possible.
- Have your child examined by a medical and mental health professional? This will establish to record any signs of psychological and physical abuse.
- You will need a Petition for Custody form or Motion to Modify Child Custody. You can download these forms from you state court website or online documentation provider.
- Complete the forms in complete detail including the child's living arrangement and the reason why you are modifying. Include all evidence of why you think the other parent is unfit.
- File forms with the court. You will need to check to determine if you file with family or juvenile court. You will be assigned a case number.
- You will then serve the papers to your child's other parent. Usually, the documents will need to be served by law enforcement or a private process server. Then return proof of service to the court clerk.
- Next, you will attend the hearing. Provide all original documentarians and evidence of why the other party is unfit. This could be school records, medical records and eyewitness testimony of abuse and neglect. After the hearing, the judge may rule or order a child custody evaluation which includes an extensive review of both parents.