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Parental responsibility and custody rights for disabled parents

One state representative is seeking custody rights for parents who are disabled. He feels that parental responsibility is not shared fairly with disabled parents in a divorce, and he wants to put an end to it. The man adds that whether a judge purposely shuns the disabled parent or does it subconsciously, it is an unfair practice. Although this state representative is not from Florida, the outcome could affect the state's disabled citizens and their children.

The man has filed a bill that would make it illegal to use a parent's disability as a negative factor when determining custody or visitation. If custody is denied to a disabled parent, the judge must provide a written explanation of how the parent's disability could have harmed their child. While discrimination against the disabled already exists in America, most states' laws do not address the issue during custody cases.

A judge can still deny custody if he or she can show a reason why the disability would harm the child. The judge must also consider whether or not there is any special equipment that could make the disability irrelevant to the case. For example, a blind mother could use a talking thermometer to check her child's temperature, and a deaf parent could be provided with smoke alarms which flash lights instead of making noise.

While there is currently no opposition to the bill, it has been pushed aside twice before. The decision on granting parental responsibility and custody to disabled parents could have benefits for parents in Florida and the U.S. Anyone who is facing a custody battle in court has the right to consult with a family law attorney who can guide him or her on the latest laws that relate to his or her case. 

Source: thesunchronicle.com, "Heroux seeks custody rights for disabled parents", Jim Hand, May 16, 2017

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