5 Factors the Arkansas Court Uses to Determine an Unfit Parent

Jan 10, 2023 | Child Custody, Family, Uncategorized

Child custody can be a pretty difficult subject. Your kids are the most important thing in your life, and you want to make sure they’re thriving– but during a contentious custody battle, things get even more personal. This is especially true if you have a difficult relationship with the child’s other parent, and if the two of you are unable to come to an agreement about custody arrangements.

It helps to be well-informed about how the courts determine which parent gets custody of their child. While courts do generally prefer to award joint custody, allowing both parents to share the duties of parenthood, there are circumstances in which a judge might determine that one of the parents is unfit to have custody of their child.


What does it mean to be an unfit parent?


A parent that’s awarded custody of their child isn’t necessarily the perfect parent. You don’t have to possess superhuman parenting abilities, endless supplies of money, or access to the very best and fanciest private schools.

An unfit parent is one that the court determines is unable to care for their child. This could mean a few different things; we’ve compiled a list of reasons why a parent might be deemed unfit to care for their child in the eyes of the law.

No contact

The court might view you as an unfit parent if you have gone a very long period of time without contact with your child. You might also be deemed an unfit parent if you’ve failed to provide effective support for your child– for example, if you’re supposed to be providing child support but have not done so.

Abandonment or neglect

Additionally, an unfit parent might be one that displays harmful behavior toward the child. These harmful behaviors might include abandonment or neglect– something no child should have to deal with, especially from someone as important in their lives as a parent.

Failure to ensure child’s welfare

A parent that’s unfit for custody of their child might also demonstrably fail to show an appropriate level of interest and concern for their child’s wellbeing and welfare.

For example, if a child is repeatedly getting into trouble and no appropriate boundaries are being set at home, a parent might be unfit for custody. If a child isn’t receiving proper nutrition or health care, the parent responsible could be unfit for custody.

Child abuse

This one goes without saying. If a parent is abusive to a child, they will most likely be determined to be an unfit parent.

In Arkansas, the term “abuse” in this context means “acts or omissions that result in injury to a child’s intellectual, emotional, or psychological development, as evidenced by observable and substantial impairment of the child’s ability to function within the child’s normal range of performance and behavior. 

Previous incarceration or criminal history

Unfortunately, if you have been previously incarcerated or have a criminal history, the courts may look at this and deem you an unfit parent– regardless of your actual parenting abilities.

What if I’m deemed an unfit parent?

Regardless of the reason why, if you’re deemed an unfit parent and you’d like to gain custody of your child, you absolutely must seek legal counsel. An attorney will work with you, taking your specific circumstances into account, to help you make the decisions that will ultimately allow your child to thrive.

Keep your child’s best interests in mind– give us a call or reach out to schedule a consultation today.

Need Advise?

If you’re looking for a badass child custody lawyer in Arkansas, look no further! Just contact the Digby Law Firm and schedule your free consultation today.

What Should I Expect When Working with a Child Custody Lawyer?

If you and your ex can come to an agreement outside of court, the process will be less expensive, shorter, and less emotionally damaging for everyone involved. But if you do end up in court, the judge’s job is to decide which parent is more willing and able to care for the child(ren) – and that’s who will be given primary custody. If you wish it, and if you’re both deemed equally able, you may be granted shared custody. A badass child custody lawyer will make sure that the outcome is fair and that the proceedings don’t get out of hand.  

The length of time your case takes, visitation concerns and whether or not you qualify for child support vary from case to case. So be sure to ask your lawyer about anything you have concerns about.

In fact, a truly bad-ass child custody lawyer will welcome any and all questions. We want to make sure that you feel as comfortable and confident as possible – so here are a few to help you get started:

  • How many years have you been practicing?
  • What is your experience with cases like mine?
  • What is the most difficult part of my case?
  • What is the process for handling this case?
  • Will you handle my custody case, or will another attorney at the firm be handling it?
  • How will you keep me informed throughout the process?
  • Can I have a written copy of the fee agreement? 
  • Do you spend at least 90% of your time on family law/child custody cases?
  • How much will the legal representation cost?
  • Will I receive copies of all the documents pertaining to my case?
  • Will my calls be returned promptly?

A good lawyer will be able to answer all of these questions, and any others that you might have, clearly and in a way that makes you feel heard and comfortable. 

If you’re looking for a badass child custody lawyer in Arkansas, look no further! Just contact the Digby Law Firm and schedule your free consultation today.

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