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San Jose Family & Divorce Lawyers / Blog / Custody and Visitation / 7 Ways a Mother Could Lose Custody of Her Child

7 Ways a Mother Could Lose Custody of Her Child

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Can a Mother Lose Custody of Her Child in California?

Contrary to popular belief, California courts do not always favor the mother in custody cases. Judges are recognizing more and more that fathers are an essential part of children’s lives, and many decisions are made in favor of joint legal custody. According to California child custody laws, this form of custody requires “both parents [to] share the rights and responsibilities for making important decisions about the children.”

If the mother fails to uphold the court’s custody decision or does not provide adequate care for the child, she could lose her custody rights. If you are facing a custody battle or are worried you might lose custody of your children, please get in touch with our team of knowledgeable child custody lawyers right away for a free consultation at 408-214-6366.

1. Abuse

Harming a child in any way might result in loss of parental rights, including custody of the child. In California, physical and emotional abuse are taken very seriously, and a father can petition to adjust the custody arrangement based on evidence of abuse.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse includes hitting, kicking, slapping, pinching, or seriously harming a child. Teachers, caretakers, or the other parent should document any wounds through photos or videos when possible. Courts take these matters seriously and could remove the mother’s custody rights if abuse is taking place.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is equally harmful, although it is harder to prove because the wounds and bruises are not as apparent as in cases of physical abuse. Emotional abuse may refer to verbal belittlement and mistreatment of the child. A mother who purposefully demeans the child’s father in order to make the child hateful and bitter could also be guilty of emotional abuse and may lose custody of the children.

2. Neglect

California courts hold parents liable for neglect. However, this refers to more than simply mistakes like showing up late to pick up a child from school. Serious neglect includes:

  • Failure to provide adequate healthcare
  • Not feeding children properly
  • Failing to supervise the child
  • Lack of cleanliness or grooming

As with abuse, teachers and co-parents can be helpful in providing documented evidence of neglect. This can include written descriptions of a child’s appearance or photographic evidence. Mothers found guilty of neglect may lose custody rights and responsibilities.

3. Violating Child Custody Agreements

Court-ordered child custody agreements are legally binding, and failure to abide by the agreement could be grounds for altering or even removing custody from the mother. Some examples of aspects of a custody agreement that must be followed include:

  • Visitation schedules
  • Custody schedules
  • Allowing grandparents’ visits
  • Following court-ordered responsibilities
  • Making child support payments

4. Substance Abuse

Dependence on alcohol or other harmful drugs could also result in a loss of custody rights. Substance abuse often results in failure to care for a child adequately, and California courts take these cases very seriously. If the parent undergoes proper treatment and shows that they are free from substance abuse, they may be able to regain custody of the children.

5. Mental Health Issues

Not all mental health issues will result in the loss of child custody. However, if a mother’s emotional instability affects her ability to provide a safe environment for the children, this could result in loss of custody. The court may require the mother to undergo psychiatric evaluation and treatment to determine whether to remove her custody rights.

6. Failure to Co-Parent

Harming a child’s relationship with the other parent could be grounds for a case against the mother’s custody of her child. This can include belittling or alienating the children from their other parent. If the father feels that the mother is interfering with his rights as a parent or otherwise disobeying a child custody order, he should track each instance and provide this as documentation when seeking an adjustment of the custody agreement.

7. Lack of Involvement

Finally, if a mother’s activities, such as work or social events, keep her away from the children for extensive periods, the father could pursue a change in the child custody agreement that decreases or eliminates a mother’s custody rights.

Some examples include leaving a child for long periods, failing to take them to school, or endangering them. Children who are afraid to stay with one parent may be in a situation of lack of involvement or even abuse. Please seek legal help when facing circumstances where you think a child’s physical or emotional safety might be in danger.

Should You Hire Our Child Custody Lawyers?

Whether you suspect that the child’s mother is not adequately caring for your children or if you are a mother who wants to keep her custody rights, you need legal assistance. At Argyris Mah, LLP, our decades of combined experience in family law give us the knowledge and skill necessary to provide excellent legal counsel. We promise to leverage our talent, dedication, and experience to help you get the results you need.

Family law issues are never easy, especially when children are involved. California law makes it clear that the well-being of the children should always be a priority when making custody decisions. If you are afraid your children aren’t being cared for properly, you have options. Our law firm strives to find solutions through mediation whenever possible to save you the time, money, and stress of going to court. However, we will fight tirelessly for you in court whenever necessary.

Please rely on our child custody lawyers to help provide a brighter future for you and your children. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation with our legal team at 408-214-6366.

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