A common fear of parents with disabilities is that they may lose custody of their child because of their mental or physical medical conditions. Sadly, this fear is sometimes realized—a recent report published by the National Council on Disability found that disabled parents are more likely to lose custody during the divorce process and be discriminated against when it comes to fertility treatments and adoption. While the disabled have a certain set of rights put forth in the Americans With Disabilities Act, certain states have laws that many believe contradict these rights.
Here are just a few troubling cases involving disabled parents and child custody issues:
- In Kansas City, a couple lost custody of their newborn baby simply because both parents were legally blind.
- In Colorado, a woman with muscular dystrophy who uses a wheelchair and ventilator faced several investigations by child welfare officers as she was raising her four adopted children.
- In California, a woman with cerebral palsy faced barriers when she attempted to adopt a child.
- In Chicago, a quadriplegic mother was forced to fight for the custody of her son who was taken away because of her paralysis.
In many cases, courts, judges, and laws don’t understand that parents with disabilities do have the ability to care for their children—or that a parent’s love and presence are important to a child’s life even if the parent cannot fully care for his or her child. Judges in Washington State will always make child custody decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child, but the issue is that many do not understand that just because a parent is disabled does not mean that he or she should not be part of a child’s life.
What can you do to ensure that you are not discriminated against as a disabled parent and that your child is not taken from you for unjust reasons? Make sure that you know the law and know your rights by talking with a Seattle child custody attorney. To learn more about your case, call the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny today and schedule a consultation: 425-460-0550.