Reasons for losing custody of a child

Reasons for losing custody of a child

Losing custody of a child is one of the most difficult “sentences” for a father or mother to face. Although it can really be said that he or she has asked for it, it should not be a cause for celebration.

Always remember our proverb: A bad agreement is better than a good lawsuit.

The well-being of the minor should be the main concern of parents in the process of breaking up or after the breakup. The son is the main victim and the one who will suffer for life the consequences of this loss.

Analyze your situation and that of your children carefully before trying to remove custody from your ex-partner. But, in case it is inevitable, we explain the main reasons for losing custody of a child.

First, you have to be clear that guard and custody are an integral part of parental authority.

Understanding the Legal Process: Losing Custody of a Child

A parent can lose full or partial custody of their child through a court order if the other parent proves serious mistreatment, neglect, substance abuse, or criminal behavior, or if the child’s physical or emotional health is significantly impaired while in that parent’s care. The court aims to make custody determinations based on the best interests of the child after considering all relevant evidence and testimony during legal proceedings.

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Is parental authority and custody the same thing?

The answer is no.

Parental authority refers to the general representation and administration of minor children. It is exercised by both parents, whether they are divorced or not.

Also in both cases, there are reasons for termination (for example, death of a parent) and deprivation of parental rights (by court order).

On the other hand, guardianship and custody refer to daily coexistence with the children. The guardianship and custody regime is regulated in Article 92 of the Civil Code.

In the event of separation or divorce, custody is attributed to the father, mother, or both on a shared basis. Parental authority usually continues to be shared by both parents, regardless of whether only one has custody.

Below we explain the reasons why a parent may lose or not obtain custody of the minors.

Can you lose custody of a child?

The answer is yes.

The foundation is found in the protection of the best interests of the minor.

In the divorce procedure and after the ruling is issued, one of the parents may lose the right to live daily with their child.

  1. In the divorce procedure, measures are adopted regarding minor children. Among them, is the decision to grant custody of the minors to their parents. If it is proven detrimental to the minor that one of the parents has custody of it, the judge may deprive him or her of it.
  2. Once the divorce decree is issued, in which the custody regime is established, the father or mother can also be deprived of having minors in their company. In this case, the procedure to follow will be to modify judicial measures.

The general interest of the minor guarantees that children are not affected by the bad decisions or actions of the parents. This is intended to ensure that minors have adequate emotional, personal, and social development.

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What are the reasons for losing custody of a minor?

The main reasons why a parent can be denied or deprived of custody of their minor children are:

1) Having a disorganized lifestyle that affects the stability of the minor

In matters of separation and divorce, the most important thing is the well-being and proper development of the minor children.

Disorganized or dangerous behavior of the father or mother that endangers the stability of the minor may result in the loss of custody.

If it is the parent’s new partner who endangers the safety of the minor, he or she may also lose custody.

2) Neglect the necessary care of the minor

Until the children come of age, it is the parent’s responsibility to attend to and care for them daily.

Neglecting the primary care of the children is grounds for being deprived of custody of the minor.

Among the main care: food, hygiene, medical care, security, schooling, unjustified absences from class…

The parent who abandons this care may be deprived of custody of his or her minor children.

3) Change of place of residence that affects the development of the minor

Stability in the social, educational, and family environment is essential for the proper development of the minor.

If the parent who has custody or intends to have custody has to change their place of residence, it will be necessary to assess whether it affects the life of the minor.

The parent who has custody may lose custody if this transfer of residence radically changes the life of the minor.

4) The parental alienation syndrome

Parental alienation syndrome consists of a mental disorder of the child caused by the manipulation of one parent against the other.

If one of the parents attempts to destroy the child’s relationship with the other parent , using emotional mechanisms, they may lose custody of the child as a result of that bad influence.

The parental alienation syndrome is not expressly included in our legal system, however, the Provincial Courts are applying it for some cases of divorces and modification of measures.

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5) Violent behavior with children or having a history for this reason

One of the main reasons for losing custody of a child is child abuse, physical or psychological.

It is more than reasonable that, if a parent attacks or has physically or mentally attacked a minor, they lose the right to live with them.

In extreme cases, the parent may even be deprived of parental rights.

6) Have a significant addiction that affects your ability to dedicate yourself to the minor

The habitual consumption of drugs or alcohol is a justified reason for the father or mother to lose custody of minor children.

If the parent’s addiction affects the care and physical and emotional stability of the minor, he or she will not be suitable to take care of the child.

7) Enter a penitentiary center

If one parent has committed a crime and has to go to prison, custody will immediately pass to the other parent if they meet the necessary conditions.

If the other parent is not considered suitable to exercise custody, the minor will be handed over to social services.

The importance of being advised by experts

In matters as delicate and complex as the custody of your children, it is always advisable to have the advice of a lawyer truly specialized in family law.

The difference between being represented by an expert lawyer with extensive experience in family law or a lawyer with little experience in the field may mean that you will not be able to achieve the desired custody situation.


1-Why would a mother not get custody?

Reasons a mother may not get child custody include proof of abuse, neglect, or substance abuse issues; lack of parental fitness; emotional instability; inability to provide basic needs; or frequent interference with the child’s relationship with the father.

2-When a mother keeps her child away from the father?

If a mother consistently interferes with court-ordered visitation with the child’s father without justification, the court may reduce her custody rights and award primary custody to the father.

3-Do children take after their mother or father more?

While personality and appearance are influenced by both parents, research indicates children tend to take more after their fathers in areas like intelligence, temperament, and risk-taking behaviors.

4-Who is more likely to get custody of a child in the US?

Mothers are still more likely to get physical custody of children over fathers in the U.S. – approximately 60/40 split – while fathers today are more likely to get increased visitation rights than in the past.

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