When you are worried about the parenting ability of the other parent of your children, it may be time to visit with a child custody lawyer. If you share custody with an individual that you do not believe is fit to parent, you will need to establish the reasons why they aren't able to parent your children in a safe, nurturing way. Parental fitness looks at each person's ability and willingness to be a good parent to the children. When a parent shows signs that they are not able to parent the children, a custody change may be in order. You can talk to child protective services if you have emergency concerns, or talk with an attorney about changing the custody in court.

Material Change in Circumstance

One of the big reasons a court will change a custody order is if there has been a material change in circumstances for either party. This could be that the parent you are worried about has tenuous housing and has recently lost a job. The change could be that the children are upset with a new partner that has moved in to the other parent's home and they have expressed fear. The change will need to be a big one, and one that is directly impacting the welfare of the children.

If There Are Mental Health Concerns

There are times when one parent is having a mental health crisis and doesn't seek treatment immediately. If you are worried about the mental health status of the other custodian and believe your children are at risk in their care, a child custody lawyer will get you into court for a modification on an emergency basis. If the judge believes that there is enough concern to warrant a custody change, you may be awarded full custody on a temporary basis until the situation is figured out.

Physical Abuse and Your Children

If a child comes back into your care with signs of physical abuse or claims of physical abuse, going for full custody may be your only choice to protect your children. This is another emergency situation, and the court system will listen to your side when you have evidence to support your claim. When a child has injuries, these should be documented and receive treatment if necessary.

When the other parent is not able to meet the needs of your children, you may need to go for full custody. Meet with a child custody lawyer to discuss the case and see where you want to proceed.