Pennsylvania family court judges have the supreme responsibility to protect the best interests of the children affected by their court ruling. Children are the future leaders of our communities. They are also innocent and require the protection of adults. As such, the family court system is structured in such a way as to protect them.
If, for example, a court determines that a parent poses a severe danger to a child, the court will strip the parent of his or her parental rights and award child custody to someone else -- be that other person another parent, another family member or a representative of the state.
Here are three common examples of when a parent might lose his or her right to see and visit with his or her children:
The parent has a history of abuse
If the parent has severely and regularly abused the child or another family member in the past -- be that abuse physical, psychological or sexual in nature -- a court could deem the person is unfit to be a parent. If the abuse was minor and not regular, a court might choose to award supervised visitation rights to that parent. If the abuse was severe and regular, the court will likely take away the parent's rights altogether.
Extreme abandonment or disinterest by the parent
If the parent has not shown any interest in seeing the child and has not helped the child economically, a court could remove that parent's rights.
Extreme substance abuse or a violent criminal history
Extreme substance abuse, a violent criminal history and a patter of other unlawful activity could cause a parent to lose his or her right to the children.
If you are dealing with a problematic parent, there may be some legal strategies you can employ to either limit or take away that parent's parental rights. Learn about your legal options and take action to protect your children as soon as you possibly can.