Determining child custody during a divorce is a complex emotional issue. Ideally, the child should benefit from parental involvement and care from both parents which can be navigated through co-parenting, parenting plans, and joint custody arrangements. Even if the custody arrangement doesn’t split the time 50/50, a child should be able to maintain a relationship with both parents.
Unfortunately, there are situations when it would be in the best interest of the child to be in full custody under just one parent. A court may take custody and visitation away from a parent completely in extreme situations, which could warrant grounds for full custody, but there are other issues that can affect your ability to keep custody of your child.
Child abduction: Some parents think that by removing the child from the other parent they are protecting their child. But in the view of the court, if the other parent has any joint custody or parental rights, it is seen as child abduction. If you are trying to get full custody of your child, this will hurt your case.
Violations of court orders: Court orders are legally binding, but if a parent ignores or refuses to follow court orders, like disrupting visitation schedules or parental alienation, the court will be hesitant to give that parent further responsibility to manage care of their child and may in fact remove custody from that parent.
Parental alienation: Parental alienation is when one parent takes planned steps, in the form of manipulation, in an attempt to isolate the child from the other parent. Distorted facts and disparaging comments can lead to estrangement and hostility between the child and the other parent. It is a form of abuse and depending on the nature and extent, can cause loss or decreased custody.
Falsely accusing the other parent of abuse: To disrupt the lawful contact of the other parent with the child, a parent may accuse the other parent of sexual or physical abuse, knowing that it is untrue. If the court finds the allegations false, with the intention of interfering with the contact of the other parent, custody may be removed or limited.
Domestic violence: Even if the parent has never threatened or been violent toward a child, a history of domestic violence, spousal abuse, or anger management problems may cause that individual to be perceived as potentially harmful to their child.
If you are facing the possibility of losing custody of your children, or need assistance to manage the custody process, please call our experienced family team at Simon Law Group, PLLC, at (480) 900-1358.