Parents can be at a legal disadvantage if they are disabled

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Americans with disabilities are protected by federal law from discrimination in housing, employment and many other important areas. However, the law has been slow to catch up to a growing problem experienced by those with disabilities: child custody.

Parents who are blind, paralyzed or suffering from cerebral palsy have had to fight for custody of their children simply because they are disabled. According to a report by the National Council on Disability, parents with disabilities are likely to be subjected to biased judgments in child custody cases, and the legal system is not doing enough to protect the rights of these parents.

Child welfare groups argue that removing children from the custody of disabled parents is sometimes necessary due to the best interests of the child. However, many disabled rights advocates argue that, in many cases, better support for the parents could change the situation dramatically, making it safe for them to take care of their own children. For example, some disabled parents simply need help with transportation so that their children have access to schools, health care and other necessary services.

A family law attorney can advocate for the rights of disabled parents to share custody of their children with their partners in a divorce action. This may mean finding sources of support for the disabled parent that can become part of the divorce negotiation. A disabled parent who is contemplating divorce might wish to retain the services of a family law attorney to protect his or her rights regarding child custody as well as financial and other legal rights.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Disabled Parents Often Lose Custody Of Children, Report Finds,” David Crary, Nov. 26, 2012

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