Arkansas family court judges typically award custody based on the “best interests of the child” involved. In most cases, either one biological parent is awarded sole custody or both parents are awarded joint or shared custody. However, there are some rare cases in which the court determines that the evidence suggests that awarding custody of the child to either parent will be detrimental to the child’s emotional, physical, educational, and overall well-being. In such cases, the court declares the parents unfit and may then awards guardianship rights to a third party.
One of the common reasons a court may determine that a biological parent is unfit is the parent’s history of being abusive toward the child. If warranted, a family law attorney, such as the attorneys at Worsham Law Firm PA, can attempt to prove such a case on the basis of prior legal history. To do so, an attorney may utilize police reports as well as eyewitness records from neighbors, doctors and school authorities.
Additionally, there may be cases where the biological parents are drug addicts and alcoholics. Many researchers have found that the regular use of drugs and narcotics can lead to dissociation from reality. In many cases, drug addicts are only concerned about getting their drug of choice at any cost, which often leads to serious negligence of their children. Drug addicts also often lose their jobs since many companies nowadays subject their employees to regular, random drug tests. If that happens, a drug addict will be found to be unfit as a parent according to Arkansas law.
Parents who have been incarcerated for violating the law are also deemed to be unfit parents. In such cases, however, the parents’ rights are taken away by the court temporarily. In most cases, guardians act as temporary custodians of the children until the parents are able to prove to the court that they can, in fact, take care of their children properly. At all times, the court puts the best interest of the child before everything else.