Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Monday, April 8, 2013

Guest Post by Jennifer Smith--Family Law: In the Event of an UnSafe Parent

A divorce is an unforgettable event to a child as they will feel pain and emotional conflict having to choose which parent they to whom they side and the idea that the individuals that pronounce their undying love will no longer stay present in their daily lives. The child will feel as if they are stuck between the conflict, and may see the event as a result of their doing which creates deep psychological imprints on the child.

The child, however, may not realize that the divorce is due to the result of an unfit parent. One of the parents may not provide adequate safety and security to the child which puts them at risk.

This break in safety could be the result of any number of factors:

  • Inadequate home security to defend the child from home intrusion (read more about these items and how to protect on
  • A parent that has little or no self-control due to addictions
  • An unfit environment from the friends and relatives of the parent

Family law had been a streamlined process that allowed either parent to make their case and the result being some or no visitation rights but this is beginning to change and become difficult to conduct.

The child will generally be placed under temporary custody to one of the parents or a third-party within the family unit during the divorce process.

The custody of the child will result in the four following arrangements:

  • Legal – A parent is given the responsibility for a child’s health and welfare.
  • Physical – The child will go with one of the parents and may have an option for joint custody or visitation rights.
  • Joint – The child has the opportunity to interact with both parents because they share custody.
  • Sole – A child goes to one of the parents that makes the daily decisions of the child (but may still have joint legal custody).

The court will use a number of factors to determine which type of arrangement will come to process based on many factors such as the financial stability of a parent, location, general well-being, and safety.

Safety can be show through a variety of actions:

  • Being consistent in emotions and physical contact
  • Showing patience with the child
  • Avoiding acquisitions and blaming
  • Being forgiving
  • Not being a victim of one’s lifestyle

The most important factors a family court will use in the case greatly rely on the history of violence, destructive behavior, drug/alcohol use, mental issues, or neglect. It’s unfortunate but many parents will use minor faults, or even the child, to gain custody when it’s apparent that both are fit for the job; it’s generally the result of a bitter breakup.

The child, too, may come as a factor within the decision for which parent gains custody; these factors will be taken into account and used to determine the best outcome for the child.

In all, the legal ramifications of a divorce will ripple through the lives of each individual involved and the children caught between the conflicts. The end result will find closure based on the cases presented by both sides and the history of each individual involved. A child’s well-being and mental stability should become one of the main aspects to cater throughout the process as it will have a profound impact on the child throughout their later years.

Current Affairs, Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink

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That truly is tough. I imagine sometimes there's really no other way, but really, from what I've heard speaking to family court attorneys in Bloomfield, NJ, this almost always is the fault of a selfish parent.

Posted by: thiagodaluz7 | Apr 9, 2013 8:33:51 AM

It is really nice to find and read this guest post. Described in very well manner. The information shared through post are extremely valuable for me and will bookmark this post. Many thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Divorce Lawyer Las Vegas | Apr 15, 2013 11:42:53 PM

These situations are extremely difficult to imagine but unfortunately occur more often that we would like. Thanks for laying out the process is such a straightforward manner.

Posted by: Jason Sotto Orlando Pediatric Dentist | Apr 30, 2013 11:28:43 AM

It's truly sad to witness a family separate but that is a reality we must accept. Based on the articles I've read from, there are many underlying factors to such event but I do agree with Thia that the fault is at the parents.

Posted by: Sarah Miller | Jul 2, 2013 10:36:15 AM

I don't understand some things about law. Luckily I don't know when I can find a similar thing.

Posted by: philthom4s | Feb 4, 2014 8:09:15 AM

this is further complicated better spouse that makes false claims of neglect or abuse to child protection services.caseworkers often do not care if such allegations are true or not.child protection services has a Financial interest and is compensated for referring family members to "service providers". this system long been abused bye spouses and embraced bye child protection services departments as a way of receiving federal funding. This needs to stop!

Posted by: DenverDad | Feb 21, 2014 3:22:30 PM

Divorce is really sis stressful, I can only think that mediation would make a good agreement for both parties, that even the children wont be that affected in the process. A neutral mediator should perform as the one who can initiate a good resolution on the issue.

Posted by: Marc | Nov 7, 2019 7:40:42 PM

This is a great blog post about divorce tips and the tips are given here are very useful for the peoples whose relationship is not working anymore.

Posted by: Family Law | Nov 28, 2019 4:04:50 AM

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