Divorce can be chaotic, especially if you have kids and assets to consider. Even if you have previously established a custody arrangement for your child, you may be surprised to learn that you can lose those rights later on. As a mother or father, it is imperative to be aware of the circumstances or actions that could result in a custody loss.
The following are the most important things to be aware of when trying to keep custody rights of your child:
Child or Sexual Abuse
A parent who is emotionally, physically, or sexually abusing their child will most likely lose custody. If a parent is knowingly allowing someone else to abuse their child, they will be held to the same ramifications. There is a fine line between discipline and physical abuse. Verbal abuse is a form of abuse that the court takes seriously. Screaming and threatening can cause a child to feel unsafe in their environment with you.
If you are physically disciplining your child, you should seek alternative forms of punishment. Implementing this change will help avoid an abuse accusation in court. If you have a legitimate concern that your child is being abused, do not let this article stop you from reporting your suspicion.
Substance abuse of any kind is not handled lightly in a family court. Drugs, alcohol, and even cigarettes can be considered substance abuse. Family court judges will also consider the habitual or continual use of illegally prescribed controlled substances and alcohol.
If you have a drug or alcohol addiction, explore treatment options to avoid losing custody of your child.
A parent doesn’t have to abuse their child directly to threaten custody status. Abusing your partner, another child, or anyone else in your home is a signal that you may not be mentally stable enough to care for your child.
If you are concerned that your child is exposed to domestic violence, it is important to seek counsel right away.
Child Neglect and Unsafe Housing
As a parent, you are responsible for making sure your child is always supervised by a responsible adult, fed adequate and nutritional meals, receives an education, is well clothed, and is kept safe. You must provide your child with a safe place to live, even if you need to stay in a motel or with a relative. Custody can be lost if you and your child are living in a car or in a dangerous situation.
In this case, custody can be regained once you have improved your living condition.
Child abduction is a common reason why a parent may lose custody. If you take your child without the other parent’s permission or are late to return the child home, this may be seen as abduction in court.
If you can’t return your child on time due to an incident, it is important to document your communication with the child’s other parent. By doing this, you will avoid a future issue in court.
Parental Alienation or False Accusations
While this article has primarily focused on poor parental decisions, what about the falsely accused responsible parent? In some cases, a manipulative parent may try to convince their child that he or she has suffered abuse from their other parent. Telling a child their other parent does not love them or is a bad person is a form of parental alienation. If you are found to have made false accusations toward the child’s other parent, you could lose custody.
We understand the challenges that a high asset divorce or child custody dispute can put on a family, especially if you are fighting an uphill battle. If you have concerns about whether you may lose custody of your child, contact Ricklin Family Law.
Ricklin & Associates
2625 Townsgate Road
Westlake Village, CA 91361