When parents of California divorce, they typically have more to deal with than childless couples. They have to figure out matters like child support, child custody, and visitation rights. When determining child custody, the term “unfit parent” may surface. It is important to understand what this means and how an unfit parent is determined in the state.

Your Dictionary defines an unfit parent as someone with suspect morality who acts against the best interest of a child. This is a vague definition. Most states have their own, more detailed definition to supplement it. They also have their own sets of criteria to determine who is an unfit parent.

Some factors that judges will look at when determining suitability for parenting include:

  • How safe and healthy the child will be
  • The contact each parent has had with the child
  • If drug or alcohol abuse has ever been involved
  • If there is a history of abuse against the child in question, other children, or the ex-spouse or other romantic partners in the past

There are some grounds in which a person will automatically be considered an unfit parent, with the possibility of rebuttal. This includes if a parent has three or more felony convictions or if they have been convicted of a crime of depravity, such as sexual assault. In these cases, it is up to the parent being accused of being unfit to provide clear and concise evidence proving that they are fit to parent.

This can be a high risk situation for everyone involved. For that reason, it is important for all parties to be prepared for what they may face in court.