How Do You Prove Your Ex is an Unfit Parent in New Jersey?

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While no one can claim to be a perfect parent, some parents pose a danger to their children. As an exhausting, ever-present responsibility, parenting is the most difficult and demanding job any person could have. Even though no one does it perfectly, the Garden State makes a distinction between being an imperfect parent and an unfit parent. For more information on how to prove your ex is an unfit parent in New Jersey, please continue reading, then contact an experienced Bergen County, New Jersey child custody lawyer today.

What constitutes an unfit parent in New Jersey?

Garden State law defines an unfit parent as someone who:

  • Is grossly immoral or unfit to be entrusted with the care and education of a child
  • Fails to provide a child with proper protection, maintenance or education
  • Has vicious, careless or dissolute habits that endanger the welfare of the child

To satisfy the court as to the other parent’s unfitness, you must provide evidence that the child has suffered harm.

What evidence do you have to collect to prove your ex is an unfit parent in New Jersey?

It can be quite difficult to prove that your ex is unfit. Courts tend to favor keeping children with both of their parents. Judges and mediators frequently encounter cases in which divorcing parents accuse each other of unfitness. However, having a disagreement over child rearing is completely different from being an unfit parent. The court will require concrete proof that the parent is unfit and that the child has suffered mental or physical harm at the parent’s hands. You will need a well-documented history of your ex’s behavior and its impact on the child. This includes:

  • Media and recordings: Photos, audio/video recordings, social media posts, phone messages/texts
  • Medical records: Doctor and hospital records, substance abuse rehab records, X-rays and test results
  • School records: School psychologist reports/referrals, teachers’ reports, disciplinary reports
  • Court records: Criminal records (i.e. prior arrests and complaints), probationary reports and physical/domestic abuse claims
  • Other documentation: Information and claims from NJ Child Protection and Permanency

What happens to an unfit parent?

When the courts declare someone an unfit parent, that person can face serious consequences that not only impact his or her life, but also the life of his or her child. Some of the most common consequences of receiving a declaration of unfitness include:

  • Denial of custodial rights or transfer of custody
  • Limiting or termination of visitation rights
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Allowing another party to adopt the child

Given the intricacies of this process, you should speak with a skilled Bergen County, New Jersey family law attorney as soon as possible.

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If you are facing any family law matter, contact HD Family Law today to schedule your initial consultation.

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