In a family court of law, the judge may award sole or joint custody and sole or joint physical custody of a child. Visitation, or parenting time, may be equal or given primarily to one parent. Losing custody of a child means losing both joint legal and/or physical custody and visitation may become limited or supervised.
1. Child Abuse
Child abuse is disturbingly the number one reason a parent may lose custody of a child. Parents who strictly discipline children are advised to take parenting classes or seek counsel for recommended methods. A court may view strict parenting as abuse.
- Physical: Abuse which resulted in burns, bruises, scars, wounds, or head/bone injuries.
- Sexual: Involves overt and generally forced sexual acts or indecent exposure. A parent engaged in an act of serious child abuse through neglect.
- Emotional/Psychological/Verbal: Abuse that can lead to depression, anxiety, or developmental regression.
- Corrupting, exploiting, or manipulating the child to exercise deviant or inappropriate behavior
- Humiliating, ridiculing, or demeaning the child
- Making the child feel indifferent
- Making the child feel useless
- neglecting the social needs of the child
2. Child Abduction
Child abduction by a parent is a reason to lose physical and legal custody of a child. The result depends on the severity of the abduction and the judge overseeing the case.
3. False Child Abuse Accusations
Common in Florida, one of the leading reasons a parent loses custody is false child abuse allegations. Making deceitful accusations and lying is not taken lightly by the court. Usually, a false allegation equates to a temporary order restricting the accused to see the child with an in-depth further investigation – damaging to both the accused parent and the child.
4. Living in an Unsafe Environment
A parent’s living environment affects how much child custody is received. To regain custodial rights, the parent would be required to transfer to a safer location.
- Building cited for multiple safety and health hazards
- Criminogenic neighborhood
- Outdated building or home
- Recreational vehicle (In some cases, depends)
5. Parental Alienation
Parental alienation occurs when one parent attempts to alienate the child from his or her other parent. A parent may do this by talking badly about the other parent in front of the child – aiming to evoke anger in the child to the other parent or to refuse co-parenting.
Regardless of feelings for one another, co-parents are responsible for fostering a healthy and ongoing relationship with the child and for both parties. If one parent fails to keep their side of the agreement, the court may find them unfit to parent.
6. Child Neglect
Child neglect is a form of abuse as it is a failure of action in times of need. A parent who fails to feed, clothe and groom their child is considered endangerment by the court. If the court finds the child was endangered in any way, the parent could be at risk of losing custody of the child.
Additionally, the court is concerned with how sanitary a parent keeps their home. Allowing a child to live in an unsanitary living space is a form of neglect, and it is one of the core reasons courts revoke child custody.
7. Maternal Substance Abuse
According to National Institutes of Health reports, substance abuse is one of the reasons mothers lose custody of their children. Commonly, these mothers are victims of domestic violence and have histories of neglect as a child.
8. Overseas Military Parents
For single mothers or single fathers who are deployed in a war zone, the likelihood of losing custody is high. Certain Family Care Plans handles cases where a designated responsible person cares for the child 24/7 while their mother or father is overseas. Overall, care and expenses including medical and education needs should be met on behalf of the father or mother. If the father is still included, the father can file for temporary full custody while the mother is abroad.
Fort Myers, Florida's Most Trusted Family Law Attorney | Mellany Marquez-Kelly
Mellany Marquez-Kelly is a compassionate family law firm that provides equitable resolutions that protect your interests and those of any children.
Marquez-Kelly has extensive experience with child custody cases and has long been providing legal services to Fort Myers and the surrounding Florida areas. She can effectively help you navigate the complexities of the legal system in reaching any modification determination that is fair and will protect your rights.