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When does a Texas family law judge rule a parent unfit?

Parenting is not for the fainthearted, as most parents can attest. Especially if you have kids in different age groups, they can really put your patience and parenting skills to the test. Of course, you love your children and always want what's best for them. That's just the trouble. You and your spouse might not always agree on such issues. If you're already having marriage problems, parenting disputes might wind up being the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Many divorced couples cite parenting disagreements as causal factors that led to their break-ups. Some concerns are far more serious than others. For instance, it might not be that big of a deal if your ex lets your kids stay up later than you typically do at home. It's definitely a serious issue, however, if you believe your ex is an unfit parent who is endangering their health and development.

Issues that constitute unfit parenting in Texas

The judge overseeing your custody proceedings is not likely interested in why you no longer wish to be married to your spouse; that is, unless those reasons have something to do with your children's safety and well-being. The court always has children's best interests in mind when making custody decisions. 

If your spouse has been abusive to your children, it is definitely something a family law judge will want to know. Convincing the court that your ex is unfit takes more than mere verbal accusations. You must be able to show evidence that what you say is true. In addition to abuse, if your ex is addicted to alcohol or drugs, such issues may also constitute unfitness for custody.

An absentee parent might not be fit either

If your spouse has no desire to play an active role in your children's lives, the court will want to know about that. A judge may also deem a parent who is in jail or never shows up on scheduled visitation dates to see his or her children an unfit parent.

While most judges believe children fare best in divorce when they maintain active, healthy relationships with both parents, such an arrangement is not always in a particular child's best interests. If you believe your ex's presence is a detriment to your children's safety or overall well-being, you may be able to get sole custody, as long as you can prove your allegations.

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