Rights Of Parents With Disabilities Regarding Child Custody
It is a given that a divorce can be one of the most stressful and traumatic situations for most people. For divorcing parents, there can be several considerations regarding the custody and visitation arrangements of their children. However, the situation becomes more intensely complex and overwhelming when one of the separating parents has some kind of disability to deal with. The parent with disabilities is constantly surrounded by the fear of being on the losing side of the final child custody settlements to be announced by the court.
Understanding California family law on parent disability and child custody determination
Whereas years ago a disabled parent might have been viewed by a court as incapable of financially, physically and/or emotionally providing for his or her children the same way as a parent with no disability would. However, with changing times, laws have also changed. The State of California incorporated a provision in the family law dealing with custody cases involving a parent with disabilities. As per thelaw, courts are prohibited from relying merely on a physical handicap to establish a parent as being unable to care for a child. The provision states that the court will not decide upon any child custody, support or visitation related settlements against a parent merely on the basis of his or her disability.
The provision requires the court to make a few considerations while dealing with divorce cases involving a disabled parent.
- The existing and potential physical capabilities of the parent
- The individual’s capacity to cope with his disability
- The response and adjustment of other family members with the individual’s handicap
In addition to this, it is also accepted that the health and physical condition of a parent should not be given undue importance while considering the best interests of a child.
Parenting by a disabled parent
As per the findings of modern psychology, parenting involves much more than regular soccer practice and carpools. It is within the guidance, support and teachings of a parent that the true essence of parenting lays. It is a parent’s learning from his or her own life experiences, that he/she passes on as invaluable legacy to the child. Considering the bigger picture, a parent with disabilities can be cited as far more capable of imparting lessons of life to their children, as opposed to someone who has never seen the dark part of life.
As long as a disability does not hamper a parent’s capacity of rearing his child the correct way, a court of law cannot deny him or her the custody and visitation rights over his or her children.
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