What Makes a Parent Unfit in the Eyes of the Court

Child custody cases can be tough emotionally on all parties involved. However, the court acts in the best interest of the child. If a parent is proven unfit in the eyes of the court, their parental rights could be terminated, but how is a parent determined unfit in the eyes of the court? Our child custody lawyers at the Lake of the Ozarks are here to tell you what makes a parent unfit in the eyes of the court. If you are in need of a child custody lawyer you can count on, call Deputy and Mizell or visit our website at www.DeputyandMizell.com for more information.

Terminating Parental Rights (TPR)

According to the Missouri Department of Social Services:

A petition to terminate the paternal rights of the child’s parent(s) shall be filed by the juvenile officer or the Children’s Division (CD) or if the petition is filed by another party, the Juvenile Officer or CD shall seek to be joined as a party to petition when the following grounds are present:

1. Child has been in foster care for at least fifteen (15) of the most recent twenty-two (22) months; or

2. A court of competent jurisdiction has determined the child to be an abandoned infant:

* The parent has left the child under circumstances that the identity of the child was unknown and could not be ascertain, despite diligent searching, and the parent has not come forward to claim the child; or

* The parent has, without good cause, left the child without any provision for parental support and without making arrangements to visit or communicate with the child, although able to do so; or

3. A court of competent jurisdiction has determined that the parent has:

* Committed murder of another child of the parent; or
* Committed voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent; or
* Aided or abetted, attempted, conspired or solicited to commit such a murder or voluntary manslaughter; or
* Committed a felony assault that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child or to another child of the parent.

What does this mean?

Essentially, a parent could have their parental rights taken away if they have abandoned their infant, murdered their child, aided someone in murdering their child or assaulted their child.

Other Qualities That Can Make for an Unfit Parent

The court looks at many factors when determining if someone is unfit to parent a child. For example:

  • The parent has a mental condition that prevents them from properly parenting the child
  • The parents commits physical, emotional or sexual abuse on the child
  • The child was conceived due to rape.
  • The mother testing over .08 in a blood alcohol test within eight hours after the child’s birth.
  • The mother testing positive for drugs, including but not limited to cocaine, methamphetamine or a controlled substance defined in section 195.010 (Missouri Department of Social Services)
  • The parent shows a lack of commitment to the child.

If you are going through a tough child custody battle, you should have an experienced, child custody lawyer in Camden County on your side. Give Deputy and Mizell a call at 417-532-2191 for your free consultation.


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