What Happens if Parents are Unfit to Take Care of Their Children?
15 December 2023IN: Family Law
While children benefit from having both parents in their lives, in some cases, at least one parent is unable to take care of their children. However, there are cases in which both parents are unable to care for a child.
The court focuses on the best interests of the child, so these types of child custody cases can be challenging. Various interventions may be implemented to ensure the safety and well-being of the children. The exact processes will vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case. Here’s a look at the steps the court may take when parents are deemed unfit.
What Steps are Taken?
As a first step, Child Protective Services (CPS) will get involved. If there are concerns about the well-being of a child, CPS will be notified. This agency will investigate allegations of child abuse or neglect. Other steps may include the following:
- Investigation. A social worker may conduct an investigation to assess the home environment. They will look at the parents’ ability to care for the child, as well as the overall safety and well-being of the child.
- Temporary removal. In cases where the child is in immediate danger, the child may be temporarily removed from the home and placed in foster care or with a relative.
- Court proceedings. If the investigation reveals ongoing concerns, the case may be taken to court. Legal proceedings will determine whether termination of parental rights or other interventions are necessary.
- Family court orders. The court may require parents to attend parenting classes or undergo counseling. The goal is to reunite the family if it can be done safely.
- Termination of parental rights. In severe cases where the child’s safety is at risk, the court may decide to terminate parental rights. This means that the child may be placed for adoption.
- Custody alternative. In some cases, the court may award custody to a relative.
Who Gets Custody?
If one parent is deemed unfit to care for their children, then the other parent would get custody. However, if both parents are considered unfit, then it’s possible that a family member, such as a grandparent, would get custody.
Grandparents can petition for custody if both parents are unfit or unable to take care of their child. They can also seek custody if any of the following apply:
- Both parents are deceased.
- The child has been abused or neglected.
- The child has been abandoned.
Even still, there’s no guarantee the court will grant the petition for custody. Ultimately, the court will make the decision based on what’s best for the child.
Contact Our Murfreesboro Child Custody Attorney Today
In a child custody case, the best interests of the child prevail. If one or both parents are deemed unfit, then custody may be given to a grandparent or other family member.
A Murfreesboro child custody lawyer from The Law Office of David L. Scott can guide you through the process of navigating the laws involved. We can give you advice on child-related issues. To schedule a consultation, fill out the online form or call (615) 896-7656.