When does a parent lose the right to see their child

Understanding the Circumstances in Which Visitation Rights Can Be Lost

It is common that, in a divorce,  one of the parents wonders if they can lose the right to see their child.

In this article, we are going to explain everything you need to know about this topic.

When does a parent lose the right to see their child?

Differences between custody and parental authority

So that you understand the topic of this post well, it is important that you distinguish 2 key concepts in the case of divorce or breakup of a couple: parental authority and custody.


Parental authority refers to the general representation and administration of minor children and corresponds to both parents, whether divorced or not.

Now, parental authority can be lost, in the cases provided for by law.

If the noncustodial parent loses parental rights, he or she may also lose the right to see his or her children.

Guard and custody

On the other hand, custody refers to daily coexistence with the children and, in the case of divorce, it can be exclusive to one parent or shared by both.

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There are also reasons why guard and custody can be lost. However, loss of custody does not necessarily mean loss of the right to see a child.

That is, the Judge may consider it more appropriate to grant custody to the mother due to specific circumstances, but that does not mean that the father loses the right to visit the children.

Understanding the Circumstances in Which Visitation Rights Can Be Lost: Legal Perspectives

Visitation rights, or the non-custodial parent’s court-ordered time with the child, can be modified, suspended, or terminated if the parent is shown to have engaged in abusive behavior, addiction issues, or other actions that endanger the child’s wellbeing and safety. Courts will consider evidence that continued visitation would be detrimental to the child’s best interests before limiting a parent’s visitation rights.

Who can deprive me of the right to see my child?

The right to visit your child, communicate with him, or have him in your company is established by a Judge in the divorce procedure.

Visits to a child, more than a right, are a duty.

The parent who does not have the children with them has the obligation to feed them, care for them, visit them, and ensure their proper development. That is, the right of visits is a right of the minor rather than the parent.

Therefore, a Judge can also deprive you of this right-duty, when your behavior endangers the interest and protection of your child.

Reasons why you may lose visitation rights

The reasons why you may lose the right to see your child are all those that endanger his integrity and proper development.

Among them, we can mention the following:

Serious and repeated failure to fulfill your duties as a parent

Compliance or non-compliance with the right to visit a child cannot be left to the will of the father. This solution would cause situations of emotional instability and permanent anguish in the child.

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Therefore, if you do not adequately comply with the right duty to visit your child, the judge can suspend your right to see and visit him, even if you pay child support.

Also in the event that your whereabouts are unknown, you could be deprived of that right.

Now, this non-compliance must be prolonged over time and caused by the will of the non-custodial parent.

Violent character or behavior with your children

You will lose the right to see your children if you have violent behavior, on a physical or mental level, with them. Child abuse will also be grounds for suspending visitation rights.

In these cases, not only can the father lose the right to see his children, but also his parental rights.

Alcoholism or drug addiction

If the father habitually consumes alcohol or drugsin a way that affects the physical and emotional stability of the child, he will lose the right to see him and have him in his company.

Sometimes, when the addiction is not very serious and the father undergoes appropriate treatment, a limited visitation regime is established or supervised by the Family Meeting Point.

But, when the circumstances are much more serious and make it impossible to exercise the right of visitation, the addicted father will be deprived of seeing his child.

Once the addiction has been recovered and proven, the judge may be asked to establish a visitation regime in favor of the father.

Mental illness

When the non-custodial parent suffers from a mental illness that prevents them from properly caring for the minor, they will be deprived of visitation rights.

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Once the right of visitation is withdrawn, if the parent proves that he or she is attending mental health services and treatments, he or she may request that a new visitation regime be established, if circumstances warrant it.

Investigation for the commission of a crime

When a crime allegedly committed by the father is investigated, the Judge may suspend the visitation regime, in order to guarantee the protection of the minor.

Serving a sentence for the commission of a crime

If the father is convicted of committing a crime, he will be deprived of his right to see his children.

Among the crimes that involve the loss of visitation rights, we can mention the following:

  1. Crime of abuse in the domestic sphere. The judge may suspend the visitation regime if the father is convicted of a crime of abuse against the mother or one of her children, assessing the risk factors.
  2. Crime of child abduction. If the father moves the child to another location, without the mother’s consent, or retains him for longer than the time set by the Judge, he commits the crime of child abduction and will lose parental authority and visits to the children.


1.Under what circumstances a mother is not entitled to the custody of her minor children?

Reasons a mother may lose custody rights include child abuse or neglect, drug or alcohol dependency, inability to provide basic needs, poor decision-making exposing the child to harm, or continued interference with the child’s relationship with the father.

2.What are visitation rights in the United States?

Under family law in the U.S., visitation refers to the right of non-custodial parents – or in some cases grandparents – to spend time with and be involved in the child’s life when they do not have primary physical custody.

3.Can grandparents sue for visitation rights USA?

In the United States, all 50 states have enacted some form of grandparent visitation laws that allow petitions under limited circumstances, like if one parent dies or consent can’t be obtained from a parent.

4.What is grandparent alienation in the United States?

Grandparent alienation involves behaviors keeping a grandchild from having contact with grandparents through manipulation, restricting access, or interfering with the relationship of a parent or step-parent.

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