For many parents in South Carolina, obtaining child custody can feel like an uphill battle. For example, men often feel like they have to fight harder to get equal time with their children than their former wives do. As much as we all would like to believe that discrimination does not exist in family law, anecdotal evidence sadly suggests that it is alive and well.
One group that has suffered from widespread discrimination in child custody cases is disabled parents. Although the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 helped eliminate most legal discrimination against the disabled, a new report by the National Council on Disability says that the struggles that disabled parents have been dealing with continues to this day. The report claims that disabled parents routinely suffer bias in the U.S. legal system through denial of child custody, many times against the best interests of their children.
The bias extends even further than divorcing couples and can result in children being removed from households where both parents are disabled to instead live in foster care. Some experts believe that while it may be sad, it can be in the best interest of the children to remove them from the care of their disabled parents. They claim children need stability that disabled parents cannot provide. However, stripping such parents of their rights a runs in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to the report, more than 6 million children in the U.S. have disabled parents, and the rate at which these children are removed from the home has reached as high as 80 percent. Rather than sending children to live with strangers in foster homes, the report says that there should be more backup support for parents to avoid possible problems that arise from their disabilities.
Tragically, parents who suffer custody bias typically run out of resources and give up the fight, but it does not have to be that way. One alternative is to consult a family law professional who can fight for their rights in court. Parents’ custody rights should not hinge on their disability, but on their ability to provide a stable environment for their children.
Source: “Disabled Parents Often Lose Custody Of Children, Report Finds,” by David Crary, published at HuffingtonPost.com.