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When is someone considered an unfit parent?

| Dec 2, 2019 | Family Law |

When divorcing parents in Illinois are fighting for custody of a child, the battle can get heated quickly. And what do you do if you’re in a situation in which one parent is not fit to hold custody in the first place? 

The definition of an unfit parent differs depending on the state you are in. Your Dictionary defines an unfit parent as a parent of suspect morality whose behaviors, habits or actions can be detrimental to the child in question. In Illinois, guidelines can be found in the Adoption Act. An unfit parent is considered to be anyone who does not have the child’s best interest at heart, as determined objectively by the court. Among the more common concerns that can lead to a parent being declared unfit are: 

  • Neglect 
  • Abandonment 
  • Substance abuse or addiction 
  • Lacking responsibility or interest 
  • Cruelty toward the child 

A parent may also be declared unfit if they have been convicted of three or more felonies, or if the crime they are being accused of is a crime of depravity. In these particular cases, the parent will be considered unfit from the start, though they can argue this point. It will be up to them to provide clear and concise evidence in order to prove that they are not unfit. 

Regardless of whether or not a parent is being scrutinized for how fit they are for parenting, it is something that will need to go before a court before any final decisions are made. The court will be taking the child’s best interest into consideration for their final decision.