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Disabled parents may face harder child custody battles

Providing for the welfare of children is one of the most important duties of a family law court. While courts are traditionally seen as preferring situations that allow children to remain with their parents wherever possible, certain groups may face discrimination in child custody cases. Those who feel they have not received due consideration or who are at the start of a custody case in which a disabled parent may be a factor will find it important to understand the protections the law affords them.

Readers in Fort Collins, Colorado, may be interested in a recent report from the National Council on Disability that reveals that disabled parents have a higher likelihood of losing custody of their children. It cites the cases of a quadriplegic mother's 18-month legal battle to retain custody and a couple whose child was taken by the state because both parents were blind.

The report concludes that the legal system in the United States does not adequately protect the rights of parents with disabilities. Laws in many states allow the court to declare a parent unfit due to disability, and the NCD believes that this bias is a clear violation of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.

Discrimination should never be a factor in determining the custody of children. Understanding the many factors that do matter when courts seek to rule on custody and how they affect specific cases is the first step toward reaching a fair agreement in each case.

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

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