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Four Ways You Can Lose Custody of a Child

Posted on December 3, 2019

Although New York’s courts are not eager to strip custody rights from a parent, they have an obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of children. If you and your co-parent have a set custody arrangement you are likely already aware of the behaviors that will result in loss of custody. While some of these behaviors – such as drug use and excessive alcohol consumption – are obvious, others may be surprising. Some of the common ways in which parents lose custody of their children include:

  1. Not being active in your child’s schedule: We all have obligations that might keep us away from our families. For example, long work hours and jobs that require travel can make being an engaged parent difficult. Unfortunately, for divorced parents, such extended absences due to work or other obligations can result in loss of custody.If you are unable to take your children to doctor’s appointments and cannot supervise play dates, or cannot name any of your child’s teachers or doctors, you may not be a good candidate for the primary caretaker role. What is important to remember though, is that recognizing this shortcoming does not mean you love your children less – it just means that you will have to sacrifice the amount of custody you have in order to ensure that they are well taken care of.
  2. Parental fitness issues: In family court, judges take allegations of substance abuse and domestic violence very seriously. If a co-parent can prove that you are abusing drugs and alcohol, the court will likely decide that you are not fit to parent your children.
  3. Showing lack of control: If you consistently exhibit poor judgement and lack of self-control it is unlikely that you will maintain custody of your children. For example, a parent who has an outburst in the courtroom, or acts out in front of a child’s teachers, social workers, or even their neighbors, risks losing custody of their children.
  4. Parental alienation: Consistently disparaging your child’s parent in front of them can be considered a form of child abuse and will result in loss of custody. “Parental alienation” is when a parent willfully and maliciously takes steps to create a division and even hostility between a child and their other parent.A judge will generally look favorably upon a parent who supports a child’s relationship with their other parent. However, if you find this to be difficult, even if you’re a great parent otherwise, you risk losing custody of your children. If you find that you are unable to talk about your former spouse without seeping negativity into your child’s life you might consider working with a therapist to learn how to cope with the anger and frustration you are feeling.

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At the Law Office of Vivian I. Stark, P.C. we understand the stress a divorce puts on a family and are ready to provide you with the legal counsel you need to ensure the well-being of yourself and your children. With more than thirty years of experience in New York City, our NYC child custody lawyer remain committed to finding the best possible legal solutions for you and your family during and after your divorce proceedings. If you are ready to speak with a skilled family attorney, call us at (212) 349-1600 or contact us online.