7 Common Reasons Parents Lose Custody Of Their Children

7 Common Reasons Parents Lose Custody Of Their Children

by Jan 8, 2020Child Custody

During the divorce process, or after a judgment has been made, no parent wants to lose custody of their child. But, just because a judge has awarded one or both parents custody, doesn’t mean that either parent retains custody no matter what the circumstances are.

Whenever the issue of child custody is raised in court, a judge will always consider a child’s best interests first and foremost when deciding whether to grant, restrict, or revoke child custody. When a parent loses custody of their child or children, it’s almost always because it is in the child’s best interests not to be around that parent anymore.

Here are seven of the most common reasons that parents lose custody of their children during or after divorce.

1) Child Abuse

Child abuse, unfortunately, is the most common reason a parent loses custody of a child. Child abuse includes any kind of mental, physical, verbal, or sexual abuse.

If a parent tries to use the excuse that their perceived abuse was simply a form of corporal punishment, a judge will ultimately have to decide if a line between appropriate punishment and physical abuse has been crossed.

2) Child Abduction

Taking a child away from their home and transporting them across county, state, or international lines with no intention to return is called child abduction. Even if a parent truly believes that what they are doing is right for their child, they are not allowed to take them away and deny the other parent shared custody or visitation.

3) Falsely Alleging Child Abuse

If one parent knowingly and falsely accuses the other parent of child abuse, that is often reason enough for that parent to lose custody.

Falsely accusing a parent of child abuse shows a reckless disregard for both the child’s and other parent’s well being. Accusing a parent of child abuse, even if the allegations are later proven false, can have a severe and lasting negative impact on both the parent and the child.

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4) Child Neglect

Child neglect is often considered a form of child abuse. A parent that refuses to engage with their child, provide them with basic necessities, and doesn’t maintain a safe and sanitary living environment may be guilty of neglect.

Unfortunately, child neglect can be difficult to prove in court. A non-neglectful parent, an older sibling, a grandparent who sees the child regularly, a teacher, or others actively involved in the child’s life are the best at noticing neglect. Doctors and other healthcare professionals who care for a child, especially during examinations, are also valuable in this regard.

5) Domestic Violence

Parents who commit domestic violence against their spouse or significant other are unlikely to be granted or retain child custody. Many judges will deny or revoke custody from a parent guilty of domestic violence as a preemptive measure to ensure that the violent parent doesn’t begin harming their child after their spouse is gone.

6) Violating Child Custody Orders

There is a wide range of actions that can be considered “violating court orders.” This includes small things like occasionally being late dropping off or picking up a child from the other parent, to making major educational or healthcare decisions without the other parent’s knowledge or consent.

While not as common as other reasons on this list, a parent who knowingly and consistently violates their child custody orders may have their custody rights reduced or revoked if they don’t start complying with their child custody orders right away.

7) Refusing To Co-Parent

It is very common for divorced parents to disagree about some aspects of raising their children. But there is a big difference between disagreeing about the right way to parent a child and refusing to parent a child at all.

A parent who acts as a glorified babysitter and generally just lets their child run amok without oversight, discipline, or consequences may lose custody of their child.

When Is It Time To Call A Lawyer?

If you believe your child is in imminent physical danger, you should call the police immediately. For all other scenarios mentioned in this article, your best bet is to contact an attorney and describe what the issues are.

At Vonder Haar Law, we’ve helped many clients regain custody of their children and protect them from an unfit parent. To learn more about how we can help you, please contact our office today for a free consultation.


At Vonder Haar Law Offices, we offer every client a free phone consultation to discuss their unique situation and determine how we can help. To arrange a consultation, please fill out the adjacent form or call us at: (707) 529-3200.

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