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5 Things That Can Make You Lose Child Custody

If you are a parent in the process of divorcing, you and your soon-to-be-ex will need to work out a child custody arrangement. Having a child custody lawyer is key to ensuring that your needs and your children’s needs are met.

Child custody refers to the rights and responsibilities each parent has towards their child or children, including financial responsibility or the amount of money each parent must contribute towards their children’s welfare. It also includes visitation rights, which is how often parents are allowed to see their offspring.

Child custody laws vary by state. The specific arrangement you and your former spouse reach will depend on many factors. These could include your schedule, your child’s or children’s schedule, and how far you and your spouse live from each other. 

With that said, here are 5 things that can make you lose child custody.  

Loss of Child Custody Due to Child Abuse 

Child abuse can take many forms. It might be physical, in the form of beatings or violence beyond generally acceptable corporal punishment. It might be verbal, in the form of angry, demeaning, or inappropriate speech. Child abuse can also take the form of sexual assault. 

All kinds of child abuse are morally wrong. They are also illegal. Child abuse can result in legal fees, jail time, and the removal of your child from your home. Abusing your child can ruin their life and yours. It will ensure that you lose custody. Don’t do it. 

If you believe your child is being abused by their other parent, have your child custody lawyer file a request for order as an emergency application. 

False Allegations of Child Abuse 

Because physically abusing a child is a serious charge, making a false allegation of child abuse is serious, too. In some instances, divorced parents will falsely accuse their ex-spouse of harming their child. They do this in the hope of getting full custody, but this tactic has the opposite effect. 

Accusing your co-parent of abusing your child without proof could cause you to lose custody. Whether allegations of child abuse are made on social media or in court by calling the police or other authorities, they must be accompanied by credible evidence. 

Unfortunately, sometimes child abuse really is happening but can be difficult to prove. The key is to avoid accusations that have no basis at all.    

Substance Abuse 

As with child abuse, it should go without saying that if you abuse drugs or alcohol, you will lose custody of your son or daughter. This is especially true if your substance abuse causes you to neglect your parental duties. Examples of this include failure to properly supervise your child as a result of intoxication.

A DWI or drug charge will definitely result in a loss of child custody. You may face criminal charges and jail time as well. 

Violation of a Child Custody Order 

The child custody agreement you and your former spouse reach will establish conditions for all aspects of your co-parenting relationship. These include visitation or how much time each of you can spend with your offspring. The amount of money each of you must pay towards your children’s interest will also be determined. You and your ex will also agree to terms on how major decisions will be decided, such as those involving your child’s health or medication.

Failure to adhere to any of these terms can result in your losing custody. 


Child neglect is hard to prove, but it is a serious charge. It could mean failing to properly feed or clothe your child. It can also include raising your child in an unsanitary or unsafe environment. If proven, child neglect will result in loss of custody.  

To request a consultation for your child custody case, call the Law Office of Paul Bowen at (727) 773-1554.