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When Bad Parenting Is Not Bad Enough

By March 30, 2016July 21st, 2023Child Custody

Going through a child custody dispute is one of the most difficult things a parent can experience. We want our children to be happy, we want our children to be safe, we want our children to grow up confident and strong, and we want to give them the best possibility of achieving all of those things by being the best parent we can be. When our current or former partner or spouse does not act in a way that we think is best for the children, we want to do what we can to protect our children. It takes more than just bad parenting, however, for a court to take significant action.

If there is a continuum from good parenting to awful parenting, with bad parenting being in the middle, the court system is equipped to handle the worse-than-bad to awful. Anything in the range between good and bad is likely going to cost you more in attorneys’ fees to challenge than it is worth, based upon any result you will likely be happy with. The reason is quite simple: most judges will agree that children’s interests are best served when they have a relationship with both parents; for the court to get in the way of that relationship, the actions of the bad-acting parent must be objectively bad, significant, and, perhaps most challenging, provable. Conduct you just don’t like, even mean or selfish or thoughtless parenting, is not enough.

It is one of the great frustrations of being a family law attorney to be unable to get children to be with the “good” parent all of the time and to take the “bad” parent to task. But a legal system inundated with court cases, and needing urgently to address children in actual danger, provides limitations on the ability of the system to respond when a parent is bad, but just not bad enough.

For questions about this issue or any other family law matter, please contact the attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.


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