What would render me an unfit mother?

I am currently pregnant and the father and I are split, Also, what would qualify him as unfit. I have multiple texts where he states he doesn’t want the baby and he wanted me to abort the baby.

Asked on January 11, 2013 under Family Law, Pennsylvania


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

There is not a set list of factors that will deem someone an "unfit parent," but the court will look to a variety of factors to determine who is fit to be the custodial parent of a child.  Harm, neglect, and abandonment are three of the main things that can get a parent stripped of their parental rights.  If a mother does something that harms the child or if the mother attempts to harm a child, then that could result in her being deemed unfit.  If the mother neglects the physical or emotional needs of the child, (like providing inadequate food or child care), then she could also be deemed unfit.  Abandonment is where the parent takes off, provides no support, and has limited or no contact with the child.

If you are about to be in a custody suit with the father of the child, the texts messages will help you get custody-- but they will not be controlling.  The courts want to encourage the mother and father to be active, involved parents.  If he continues to have the same attitude after the child is born and does nothing for the child, then there should not be an issue with you retaining custody of the child. 

In the event that he does straiten-up and decides to welcome this child for the gift that it is, you could face a custody battle.  In order to maintain custody, you just need to focus on being a good mom.  Enjoy motherhood, make plans for your child, and start working on how you are going to raise your child.  Courts look at which parent is active with the pediatrician, who can provide good child care, the living arrangements for the child, and the opportunities the parent is looking to provide for the child.  There is not a magic formula, but together, the each detail will show that you want to be a good mother to this child.  You may not be the richest in funds, but you can show that you are the richest in heart.

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