How the Court Determines Parental Fitness
A lot of issues may come into play when it comes to determining child custody and how much – if any – time a parent is legally entitled to spend with his or her child. One question which may arise is just how “fit” one or both parents are to be a part of their child’s life.
Parental fitness has been in the news lately due to a high profile child custody battle between “Infowars” radio show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his ex-wife, Kelly Jones. The ex-wife is seeking joint or sole custody of their three children as she says that her ex-husband is not a “stable person” and that the volcanic outbursts he regularly displays on his show and in public are true to his nature. Alex Jones’ lawyer argues that Jones is a “performance artist” and that he is only “playing a character”.
How the Fitness of a Parent Is Determined
The parents of a child are presumed to be “fit” unless there is evidence to the contrary. An evaluation on the fitness of a parent may be ordered by the court:
- At the other parents’ request if substantial evidence is presented
- If a child has been placed in foster care and the parent wants to regain custody
Both the parent and the child participate in the parental fitness evaluation. The purpose of the evaluation is to assess whether or not a parent is able to meet the emotional and physical needs of a child. During the fitness evaluation, a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist will explore the habits, lifestyle and psychological state of a parent.
The parent being evaluated will also likely be asked to sign authorizations or releases which will give the investigator access to:
- Police records
- Court records
- Medical records
- Information about any prior arrests
- An evaluation of your home and neighborhood
Seek Legal Help from Whitmarsh Family Law, P.C.
In almost every child custody dispute, it is a parent’s best interest to hire legal counsel for representation.
Whitmarsh Family Law, P.C. in Southern California have proudly advocated on behalf of families who are facing a number of family law issues, including those who are wanting to enforce, establish or modify a child custody order.
To speak with one of our dedicated child custody lawyers today, we invite you to call (310) 552-3505.