Ask a Child Custody Lawyer: How Can I Prove the Other Spouse Is an Unsafe Parent
Proving your former spouse is an unsafe parent can be difficult, but there are numerous types of evidence you can collect to showcase their inability to safely care for your child. Speak to your child custody lawyer in Houston about the types of evidence that could help your specific case the most.
Ask a Child Custody Lawyer in Houston: How Can I Prove the Other Spouse Is an Unsafe Parent?
1. Witness Statements
Statements from witnesses are vital in cases where you wish to prove your former spouse is an unsafe parent. Speak to your child’s teachers, doctors, therapist or counselor (if applicable), and relatives who see your child often. If the adults in your child’s life have seen your former spouse being neglectful or abusive, then their statements will be useful.
If your child has spoken to any adults in their life about your former spouse’s poor parenting, then this information will also help. If multiple witnesses give similar statements, then it’ll support your case.
2. Written Evidence
If you have texts or emails that could show that your spouse is an unfit or unsafe parent, then show these to your attorney for use in your case. For example, if you have regular texts from your former spouse canceling visits and offloading their parental duties onto you, then show these to your attorney. Texts where your former spouse has spoken abusively or unfavorably about your child may also help.
If you kept a diary while you and your former spouse were together, then show your attorney entries where you mention your former spouse’s neglect or abuse. Texts and emails to other people where you vented about your former spouse’s poor or unsafe parenting may also be helpful. Texts sent to you by other people expressing their concern about the other parent’s behavior can be used as evidence, too.
3. Evidence of Abuse
If your spouse has been [physically abusive towards your child, then show your attorney any images or videos you have of your child’s injuries. Medical records of times your child had to be treated for injuries caused by your former spouse can also be used as evidence. If you have video evidence of your spouse being verbally or physically abusive to the child, then share this with your attorney.
If you’re not sure the evidence you have will be helpful, then share it with an attorney so they can give advice specific to your situation. For more information, click here to contact an attorney.
4. Evidence of Neglect
Disclose anything your child has told you about their other parent being neglectful. For example, if the other parent lets your child go hungry or unwashed for long periods while in their care, then tell your attorney about this. Don’t be afraid to share as much detail as you recall. Attorney-client privilege prevents your attorney from sharing the information with others.
Photographic and video evidence of neglect also helps. If you took any photographs or videos of your child looking unkempt after spending a few days alone with their other parent, then share these. Anything and everything can help in these cases. Images of matted hair, dirty and torn clothes, and dirt on their skin after extended periods alone with the other parent should be shared with your attorney.
5. Evidence of Substance Abuse
If your former spouse is a substance abuse problem, then you can use evidence of this to support your claim that they’re an unsafe parent. If they’ve been hospitalized for substance abuse, then ask your attorney if it’s possible to subpoena your former spouse’s medical records.
If you have videos of your former spouse intoxicated in front of your child, then share these with your attorney. Witnesses can also speak to your attorney about your former spouse’s issues with substance abuse.
6. Evidence of Missed Appointments
If your child has been missing school, medical appointments, extracurricular activities, and so on while in the care of your former spouse, then get evidence of this if you can.
Ask your child’s teachers/principal for evidence of the child regularly missing school. Speak to your child’s regular doctor or dentist to see if they have records showing your child regularly missed scheduled appointments while in the other parent’s care.
7. Evidence of an Unsafe Living Environment
Take photographic and video evidence if your former spouse has provided an unsafe living environment for your child. Examples of an unsafe or unhealthy living environment include:
- Water damage
- Extensively dirty home
- Non-functional utilities
- Poor building construction
8. Evidence From Police
If your spouse has a criminal record and regularly gets into trouble with the police, then your attorney can attempt to acquire records of your spouse’s criminal behavior.
Gathering as many different types of evidence as possible helps strengthen your case. Speak to your attorney about your options, and don’t hold back when sharing potential evidence. It’s worth sharing as much as you can with your attorney, even if you’re worried it’s too weak to support your case.