Parents lose child custody over their perceived intelligence

When a Florida couple heads into court to fight a custody battle, they are usually on opposite sides of the matter. In some cases, however, both parents stand together to fight for their child custody rights. Those cases can be some of the most difficult for families to face, as the fear of losing a child is deep rooted. An example is found in a recent case in which a couple lost their kids after their state of residence determined that they were not mentally capable of parenting.

The case centers on two parents who display lower than average IQ levels. The father is on disability for a mental condition, and has an estimated IQ of around 66. The mother was tested, and was determined to have an IQ of 72. The average IQ level is between 90 and 110.

In making the decision to remove the two young children from the care of the parents, the state found that they suffered from limited cognitive abilities, and that because of their condition, they could not safely parent the children. At the time this decision was made, there was no evidence of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for parents with mental disabilities to lose custody of their kids.

There are those within the medical community who believe that an individual's IQ level has nothing to do with their ability to be competent and loving parents. There are current studies that seek clarification on the matter. Existing research suggest that parents with mental disabilities can also be good parents.

Some states have considered legislation that would protect parental rights when there is no sign of abuse or neglect, but to no avail. In general, parents who suffer from a mental disability are at an elevated risk of losing their children when state authorities get involved. Those in Florida should make every effort to protect their child custody rights if and when that need should arise.    

Source:, "This couple may have lost custody of their kids because they weren't smart enough", Eric Schulzke, July 31, 2017

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