Parental-Preference Doctrine Law and Legal Definition

Parental-Preference Doctrine is a legal principle which says that custody of a minor child should ordinarily be granted to a fit parent rather than another person. Under this rule, fit parents who are able and willing to care for their children have the paramount right to the custody, care, and nurturing of the child rather than any third person. In fact, in most states there is a presumption that favors placement of the child with one or both of the parents, unless the parents are found to be unfit. However this preference can be rebutted by proof that the child's best interests are to the contrary. The burden for showing so is on the person seeking to deprive the parent of custody. The right can be taken away only for convincing reasons. This is also known as parental-superior-rights doctrine or parental rights doctrine.