Deciding to file for divorce in a Colorado court was likely one of the most significant choices of your life. As a parent, you may have second-guessed your decision soon after filing the petition, as you worried how the outcome would affect your children’s lives. The fact is, most kids are resilient and highly adaptable.
As it applies to divorce, this means that children often fare well when they have strong support systems in place. If there are extenuating circumstances, such as parents locked in a contentious custody battle in court, it can definitely cause high levels of stress for the parents and kids alike. However, some things are worth fighting for, such as sole custody if you believe your ex is an unfit parent.
How does the state legally define unfit parenting?
If you know 10 people who are both parents and divorced, it’s likely that as many as half of them will say they have great dislike for their exes or are constantly arguing with them over child-related issues. This, however, doesn’t necessarily mean their former spouses are unfit parents. If you plan to petition the court for sole custody, you must be able to substantiate your allegations.
The judge overseeing your case doesn’t really care that your ex’s personal hygiene habits are lacking. If that disregard carries over into neglecting your children’s needs, however, that’s another matter altogether and one the court takes very seriously. Any type of child neglect, endangerment or abuse may prompt the court to deem a particular parent unfit for custody.
Specific issues that are definitely cause for concern
If your ex is never home while your children are at his or her house, it’s a problem, especially if your kids have not yet reached their teenage years. Do you suspect that your ex has an alcohol or drug abuse problem? This is one of many issues that would warrant further investigation in a custody hearing.
If your children are going to live with your ex on a part-time basis or have scheduled visits with him or her, you can reasonably expect your ex to meet all their needs while they’re away from you. What if your ex cannot fulfill this obligation because of poverty, for instance? If he or she doesn’t even have a job, it might be impossible to meet your children’s financial needs. This is something the court would want to know about if you are seeking sole custody.
Your children’s best interests
The Colorado family court always has children’s best interests in mind when ruling on child custody, visitation or child support issues. You want what’s best for your kids. Your children’s teachers, guidance counselors, extended family members and legal advocates in your area can be great assets to help you protect your children’s interests when unfit parenting is causing problems in their lives.