Disabled Parent and Child Custody Red Flags
The ADA protects disabled parents from being discriminated against. Your disability cannot be a reason to lose custody!
Disability can take on many forms. You might find yourself disabled by a medical condition, an accident, or addiction. The severity and cause of your disability will ultimately play a role in how you parent your children. However, being disabled should not in and of itself impact your custody rights. So here are some disabled parent and child custody red flags to look for as you move through your divorce.
Red Flag #1 Your Ex’s Attorney Talks About your Disability rather than your Abilities as a Parent
You are likely aware of the Americans With Disabilities Act. Section II notes explicitly that disabled Americans cannot lose custody solely due to their disability. So if your ex’s attorney uses your disability against you in court, your divorce lawyer should speak up immediately!
Red Flag #2 Your Ex’s Attorney Talks About Other People with Your Disability
Every human is unique, and your ability to parent your children is unique to you. Just because someone else exhibited poor parenting behavior and happened to share your same disability, it has no relation to you. This tactic is used to lump you in with other people that share your disability. If nothing else, come prepared with examples of exemplary individuals who also happen to have your disability. However, this line of argument shouldn’t be allowed at all.
Red Flag #3 Your Children Start Treating You Differently or Viewing Your Disability Differently
The love you have for your children doesn’t change throughout a divorce. Unfortunately, it’s very common for separated parents to speak ill of their ex in front of their children. Or to allow their friends or family to speak ill of their ex. This is highly inappropriate and toxic to your children. Demonstrate your ability to keep your children’s best interest at heart and make sure to document this behavior without retaliating.
Red Flag #4 Carpools & Parent-Teacher Conferences Take on a Major Role
Anyone with children knows that the physical aspects of errand running and attending events play a minor role in the overall duties of parenthood. Maintaining bonds with your children and nurturing them into adulthood takes compassion and intentional conversations. Suppose you find that physical duties start taking a proportionally large role during your divorce negotiations. In that case, it’s likely that your ex is trying to make your disability an issue by misprioritizing the roles parents play. In other words, they are trying to do exactly what the Americans with Disabilities Act guards against.
Disabled Parent and Child Custody Joys
Life has thrown you a few curveballs. But there are major positives of raising your children while you are disabled. Compassion can be hard to teach but easy to emulate. Your children will be lightyears ahead of their peers in their ability to see the person behind a disability. Showing our children how to be good, decent human beings is harder than it looks.
Disabled parents should prioritize hiring a lawyer more than other parents. It’s simply too easy for your ex’s lawyer to take advantage of your situation. You need someone in your corner that sees these red flags a mile away. Protecting your rights so that your children get the best possible outcome - more time with you! Please call our office today to discuss your options!