Divorce or separation are already emotionally turbulent times for many. These situations can be extremely complicated when there is a child involved, though. In order to determine a living situation that fits the best interest of the child or children, the parents likely have to make a visit to family court, in order to determine and outline what their legal custody agreement will look like. All custody cases are different, and a custodial agreement can vary depending on any extenuating circumstances that may exist in this particular situation. For example, it may be harder for one parent to be awarded with custody of their children if they have a pattern of mental health issues, involving erratic behavior that could endanger the lives of themselves or their children, or simply deem them as an unfit parent. A barrier to obtaining physical custody of a child can also be prevented to a parent who has been accused or charged with acts of domestic violence, as this would naturally bring into question the safety of a child. With that being said, depending on the circumstances, the mother may be given primary custody of the child while the father gets the right to visitation, or vice versa. However, in most scenarios, it is ideal for the stability and development of a child, to have both of their parents in their lives, mainintaining a good relationship on all sides. That is why extensive legislation exists surrounding the rights of unmarried fathers to their children, the ability for a separated parent to move out of state with their child, and more. Because of the intimate relationships between families and partners, the family law system is complex. However, the Selleck law firm wants to do our due diligence to ensure that our clients have a clear understanding of the law and their protections. We want everyone that we work with to be able to confidently navigate their case with the same assurance that our competent legal team has after years in the business of serving families just like yours.
Court orders related to child custody exist in order to prevent parental alienation — the concept of one parent being excluded from the lives of their child. Some couples are able to end thei romantic relationship, but maintain a cordial relationship in order to share joint custody of their offspring. However, that is not always the case. Unfortunately, when relationships between parents do not end amicably, especially when there has been infidelity or another breech of trust, the personal feelings of hurt between the two parties become too great. While experiencing overwhelming emotions relating to the end of their relationship, parents will sometimes us their child as leverage, and breech their existing custody agreement in order to prevent one parent from spending their allotted time with their child. Parental alienation can also include the slander of another parent to a child, in hopes of skewing their perception of the other parent, and creating a bias towards them that encourages the child to stay away from them. While these issues may seem personal, they can in fact have legal consequences. Many ask: can you lose custody for not coparenting? Can a mother lose custody for drug use?
But did you know an existing custody order can be reviewed and modified? Here are circumstances that can result in the mother losing custody of her child.
Abuse and neglect
Child abuse is the number one reason why a parent may lose custody of their child. Child abuse can take the forms of physical, mental as well as emotional abuse. Sometimes, physical abuse can come in the form of corporal punishment. However, it is important to understand that there is a difference between abuse and discipline.
Violation of a custody order
When the court makes a ruling on how custody and visitation will be handled, it is important that both parties adhere to this ruling. Violating a custody order by denying the father his visitation rights can result in contempt charges. If found guilty, one of the consequences of this could be loss of custodial rights. The same applies to badmouthing or alienating the child from their father.
Drug and alcohol abuse
A parent who is addicted to drugs and alcohol may pose a serious danger to the child. Besides, a parent who is addicted to drugs and alcohol abuse will have a difficult time convincing the court that they are capable of making decisions that serve in the child’s best interest. For this reason, they may lose custody of the child until such a time that they shall have recovered from the addiction.
Once the court has ruled on child custody, it might be tempting to believe that the decree is final. However, this is not always the case. A mother can lose custody of her child if the court believes that her actions are not serving the child’s best interests.