Parents that are fighting over custody typically want as much time with their kids as possible. The thought of having to split that time after a breakup or divorce can be heart-wrenching. However, custody arrangements must be in the best interests of the child, and in most cases, that means awarding each parent legal and/or physical custody rights.

That being said, there are some cases when a parent may not receive custody at all. Unfortunately for a parent, this may happen under certain circumstances.

When a parent may face the risk of losing custody

Generally speaking, a court will not award custody to a parent if doing so puts a child in harm’s way. This means that a parent can lose custody if he or she:

  • Has a history of child or spousal abuse.
  • Has an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
  • Neglects a child.
  • Makes false allegations against the other parent.
  • Is convicted on a criminal charge.

Other reasons a parent may lose custody stem from his or her inability or unwillingness to follow the rules. As such, a court may remove a child from the custody of a parent who:

  • Engages in parental alienation.
  • Violates court orders to seek counseling or undergo drug testing.
  • Violates the custody order.

In most cases, these situations are completely under a parent’s control. Making good decisions, prioritizing a child’s well-being and following court orders will all be critical if you are seeking custody.

Assurances to parents

Understand that courts do not take lightly the act of denying a parent custody rights. And they do not expect parents to be perfect. Courts expect parents to put a child’s needs first and provide a safe environment, physically, emotionally and financially.

In other words, minor, isolated parenting mistakes or insignificant character flaws typically will not be grounds to deny a parent custody.

It is also important to note that courts will typically provide parents with opportunities to improve their situation and regain custody.

That being said, any parent may have concerns about seeking or protecting custody rights. If this sounds like you, consulting an attorney to discuss your legal remedies can be critical.