Parents play key roles in their child’s moral development. It is from parents that children learn what is right, what is wrong and how to treat others.
Most parents take this task seriously, but issues can arise when a parent divorces. This is because any child custody decisions made in Florida must be based on the best interests of the child, and one aspect courts will consider when issuing or modifying a child custody order is each parent’s “moral fitness.”
What is moral fitness?
A parent’s moral fitness involves any behaviors or conditions a parent may expose the child to that could significantly and negatively impact the child’s character development. Moral fitness is important because children often copy the behaviors and attitudes their parents display.
Some behaviors that a court might deem immoral include:
- Drug or alcohol abuse in the home
- Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
- Failing to take the child to the doctor when necessary
- Failing to meet the child’s basic physical needs
- Having ongoing sexual relationships with more than one partner
A parent who is deemed morally unfit might have their custody rights restricted.
Allegations of immorality
Sometimes, if a divorce is especially toxic, one parent will accuse the other of being morally unfit even if this is not the case. This is unfortunate, as parents should be protecting their child following a divorce, and this means not disparaging each other in front of the child.
False allegations can harm a child emotionally and can limit a parent’s access to the child, at least temporarily. If you are concerned your ex will claim you are morally unfit, you will want to seek the professional assistance you need to preserve your rights to your child.