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Can a parent lose their custody or visitation rights?

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2022 | Child Custody & Support |

Every child deserves the love and attention of both parents. If parents divorce, one of the most pertinent issues both parties will work out, either alone or through the court’s guidance is determining the child’s living arrangement going forward. Depending on the terms of the custody order, one parent may receive primary custody while the other is awarded visitation rights. 

However, a custody order is never cast in stone. Subject to the prevailing circumstances, a child custody order can be modified. And part of this modification may involve stripping one party of their visitation or custody rights

Child custody and the best interests of the child

The decision regarding the child’s living arrangements after the divorce is informed by a standard known as the child’s best interests. Basically, this standard mandates the court to take specific facts into account when determining custody and visitation. It is on this basis too that the court may determine a parent’s fitness for custody or visitation. 

Here are some of the instances where a parent may lose their custody or visitation rights

Child abuse

The family court takes child abuse and/or neglect very seriously. An emotionally, physically or psychologically abusive parent may automatically lose their custody or visitation rights. Likewise, child neglect can cost a parent their custody or visitation rights. 

Child neglect can come in the following forms:

  • Failing to provide adequate shelter, food and medication
  • Failing to take the child to scheduled medical appointments
  • Failing to adequately watch the child

A history of violence and substance abuse

A parent who is violent toward their ex or the child may be deemed unfit for custody and unsupervised visitation. Even if the child is not a victim, any act of abuse toward other household members can hurt a parent’s custody and/or visitation claim. 

Likewise, parents with a history of substance abuse can lose their custody and visitation rights. 

Child custody can be a difficult subject after the divorce. Find out how you can protect your rights and interests if your custody or visitation rights are on the line.