Divorcing as a parent is hard enough without any added stress or pressure. Unfortunately, those living with a disability can have added challenges in seeking child custody rights in a divorce. For example, a parent with quadriplegia may feel great pressure to prove their parental fitness.
The good news is that family courts are not supposed to discriminate against those with disabilities during child custody determinations.
What is the court’s goal?
In divorces involving kids, judges must do what they can to help ensure that children are safe and cared for regardless of which parent they’re with. They rely on the best interests of the child standard to identify or approve a custody arrangement that benefits children and does not violate parental rights.
The best interests standard helps preserve a child’s:
- Mental health
- Emotional development
Family judges have a responsibility to understand what children need in their lives to thrive in the wake of divorce. They recognize that in most circumstances, kids need both parents to become well-rounded adults.
Their duty is clear. They must determine or approve a child custody and visitation arrangement that gives kids quality time with both parents, regardless of whether one (or both) are disabled.
Making your case
Despite the extensive knowledge and best intentions of those in authority, they do not know you or your children. Judges do not always get it right, which could harm your child custody rights or even your kids.
If you are a parent who is concerned about your disability affecting your parenting rights, you should improve your understanding of New Mexico divorce and child custody laws and make sure that you have sound legal guidance.