There are few things more precious than the bond between a parent and their child. When it comes to divorce, child custody is one of the most complex issues. Among the most controversial involve disabled parents and their rights to child custody. Under present Utah law, disabled parents are considered less capable than those without handicaps. It can often become a huge deciding factor in child custody cases. On February the State Senate Committee approved a bill that would prevent judges from using a parent’s disability to rule against them in a child custody case.
The bill (HB150) was introduced by state representative Patrice Arent (D-Millcreek) and reverses any presumption that requires judges to use disability as a reason to determine whether a parent can provide for their child’s emotional and physical needs. Among those who testified in front of the committee in Salt Lake City was Everette Bacon, who is the president of the National Federation of the Blind Utah. Bacon cited three divorce cases in recent years where one parent claimed the other was unfit for child custody due to blindness. Those same parents never mentioned blindness was an issue when the couples were married. The legislation was approved unanimously.
The plight of disabled parents often been overlooked. According to the National Council of Disability, there are currently 4.1 million parents in the United States with a disability. They currently make up 6.2% of all parents with children under the age of 18. Many face difficult odds when it comes to child custody cases. The organization cites the rate of disabled parents who have lost custody of their children. Nearly 13 percent of parents with physical disabilities have reported discriminatory treatment in their child custody cases. The highest removal rates occur with parents who are deaf or blind. Not only do disabled parents have a much higher risk of losing custody of their children, they also have greater trouble accessing reproductive healthcare and face greater obstacles adopting children.
A Salt Lake City Child Custody Attorney Can Help
The approval of Senate Bill HB150 is a positive step to end discrimination for disabled parents. Each divorce case is different. Although a physical disability can present some limitations, there are countless handicapped who are more than capable of taking on the role of responsible parents. Because child custody can be a delicate and complex issue, it is important to seek representation from an experienced and knowledgeable attorney with a track record of protecting the rights of clients and looking out for their best interests.
Salt Lake City divorce attorney Christopher M. Ault has successfully represented men and women with some of the toughest family law issues. He and his legal team at The Ault Firm understand the challenges and obstacles many in the disabled community face on a daily basis. To learn more on how a Salt Lake City child custody attorney can help, contact The Ault Firm today and schedule a consultation to discuss your case with a highly-trained legal professional.