When parents in Marietta divorce, one of the biggest challenges is determining who will have primary custody of the children. Assuming both parents want physical custody of the children, it is often up to the courts to decide which parent’s home will be the primary place of residence. These decisions are based on the best interests of the children, but what exactly does that mean? Can parents with disabilities provide for the best interests of their children? Sadly, many courts have ruled that they can’t.

For parents with disabilities, there is a real risk that they will lose custody of their children in the event of divorce. A recent report by the National Council on Disability found that more often than not, physically and intellectually disabled parents have to work harder to retain custody of their children.

Though this blog has talked extensively about the need for an experienced and competent attorney in child custody disputes, lawyers are absolutely essential when one or both parents are disabled. There are a litany of child-welfare advocates who are concerned that a disability will prevent a parent from properly caring for and raising a child. Some are even concerned that a parent’s disability could lead to outright harm or abuse.

Many parents with disabilities, both single and married, must come up with creative ways to parent their children. But there are some people who will look at programs that provide assistance to parents with disabilities as indicators that the parents would be unable to successfully care for their children without the help instead of as another parenting tool.

There should never be a case where a parent is denied custody of his or her child merely because he or she has a disability. While disabled parenting may be more unconventional, courts should not discriminate because of someone’s disability status.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Disabled Parents Often Lose Custody Of Children, Report Finds,” David Crary, Nov. 26, 2012

Within our practice we have worked closely with mothers and fathers seeking to preserve their parental rights and you can find out more by visiting our website.