If you are seeking full custody of your children in a California child custody case, you may need to prove that your ex-spouse is an unfit parent. There are many reasons why a parent may be deemed unfit in the eyes of the law. Some of these reasons include abuse, neglect, substance abuse, and mental illness. 

To help you collect relevant evidence and present your case, it’s wise to discuss your options with a San Diego family law attorney. 

What Factors Do California Courts Consider in Child Custody Cases?

California courts consider multiple factors in child custody matters. Here are a few of the most important considerations a court may make in your case.

The Best Interests of the Child

This is by far the most important factor that courts consider when making a decision about child custody. The court will look at several factors to determine what is in the child’s best interests, including the child’s age, health, and relationships with each parent. 

The Wishes of the Child

If the child is old enough to express a preference, the court will usually give significant weight to the child’s wishes. However, the court will only consider the child’s wishes if they are deemed to be reasonable. There is also no specific age at which a child’s preference will be considered. It is up to the judge to determine whether the child is of sufficient mental intelligence to express a desire.

The Relationship Between Each Parent and the Child 

Another important factor that courts consider is the relationship between each parent and the child. The court will examine how involved each parent is in their child’s life and whether there is any evidence of abuse or neglect. 

The Ability of Each Parent to Care for and Support the Child

Courts also look at each parent’s ability to care for their child physically and emotionally. This includes things like their employment status, housing situation, mental health, and drug use history. Courts also consider each parent’s earning abilities to ensure that the child is given adequate financial support and resources. 

Proving That a Parent Is Unfit in California

Several things may deem a parent unfit in California. If a parent has been convicted of certain crimes, this may make them unfit for custody. These crimes include child abuse, domestic violence, and drug-related offenses.

A parent suffering from certain mental health disorders may also make them ineligible for custody. Examples of mental health disorders that may render a parent unfit for custody include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and severe depression. 

To successfully prove that a parent is unfit for custody in California, you will need to provide clear and convincing evidence. This means that you must provide more than just speculation or hearsay evidence. You must prove that the other parent is indeed unfit for custody. 

Some examples of evidence you may use to prove that a parent is unfit for custody include: 

  • Police reports 
  • Court records 
  • Child protective services reports 
  • Medical records 

It is important to note that simply because a parent suffers from mental health issues or has been convicted of a crime does not automatically mean they will be considered an unfit parent. The court will look at each child custody case individually when making its determination. 

Contact a San Diego Child Custody Attorney for Help Proving That Your Ex-Spouse Is an Unfit Parent

Understanding your rights as an unmarried couple is crucial to protecting your parental rights. If you have any questions about child custody, speak with an experienced family law attorney in San Diego, CA.

Contact our experienced San Diego child custody lawyers at San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC today for legal assistance. Contact our San Diego office at (619) 866-3756 to schedule a free consultation today and discuss your options.

San Diego Divorce Lawyers, APC
2851 Camino del Rio S #430
San Diego, CA 92108