Five Reasons You May Lose Custody of Your Child (or be Awarded Sole Custody)

Parenting is tough, and oftentimes, a parent may feel like he or she is doing the whole thing wrong. While feelings of inadequacy are completely normal, especially as single parents try to navigate solo parenting, there are some things that a parent can do that may cause the courts to say that yes, they are doing things wrong, and that said wrongdoings may cause irreversible damage to the child. This post outlines five of those things.

At Clark Law Group, our goal is the same as the courts - to ensure that children of divorce are placed in a situation that is in their best interests. Sometimes this may mean fighting for shared parenting on behalf of our clients, sometimes it may mean fighting for sole custody, and other times it may mean fighting to modify an existing court ordered custody agreement to revoke custody from a parent who has inflicted harm on the child. If you want to do the last—modify your custody agreement—you need to have a good reason to do so. Below are five of them.

Child Abuse

If a parent is abusive in any way—physically, emotionally, or sexually—he or she can lose custody immediately. Even an allegation of abuse may result in the temporary revocation of custody until a proper investigation has been conducted. This is to ensure that the child is not placed back in harm’s way just because there is no evidence as of yet.

False Allegations of Child Abuse

Because the courts take allegations of child abuse extremely seriously, they highly frown upon false allegations of child abuse. An allegation of child abuse may cause a parent to lose custody, which is both wrong and unfair if the accused party has never laid a hand on his or her child. For this reason, if one parent falsely accuses the other in order to gain sole custody, the opposite may happen: He or she may lose custody entirely.

Child Abduction

Child abduction is the second most common reason that parents lose custody of their children. Many parents “abduct” their child because they do not want to share custody, but doing so is not only harmful to the child, it is also harmful to the parents. If a parent tries to take the child out of state or to prevent the other parent from seeing the child, the perpetrating parent may lose custody altogether.

Child Neglect

Neglect is just as bad as abuse, and it is only differentiated from abuse because it results in a failure to act as opposed to performing wrong or harmful actions. Neglect usually comes in the form of failure to feed, clothe, groom, or care for a child in general, and may result in short- and long-term health problems, both physically and mentally. Because of the harmful effects that neglect can have on a child, a court may revoke custody if it is proved that a parent has been neglectful.

Repeatedly Violating a Child Custody Order

Child custody violations can range in severity, and whether or not a parent will lose custody over a violation all depends on the significance of the violation and the frequency with which violations occur. For instance, if a parent is late to meet the other parent for custody exchanges on a weekly basis, it may be aggravating for the other parent, but it would not likely result in that parent losing custody. However, if one parent routinely does not show up for child exchanges—whether to pick up or drop off—it may cause the courts to reconsider the custody arrangement. The offending parent would still not be likely to lose custody entirely, but he or she may end up losing a majority of it.

However, if a parent routinely makes life-altering decisions without the other parent’s knowledge, such as switching schools or moving states, it may result in forfeiture of custody.

When in Doubt, Turn to a Knowledgeable Dallas Child Custody Attorney

If you suspect that your child is in harm’s way when he or she is with the other parent, you may be inclined to act on your own. Do not do that, as you may end up hurting your own case. The best thing you can do for your child is to hire an experienced family law attorney in Dallas who can help you file a petition with the court and get temporary orders put in place until an investigation is conducted and the situation resolved. Schedule your appointment today by calling our office directly or using our online contact form.

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