Generally speaking, family courts prefer to divide custody of the children as fairly as possible between divorcing parents — but things can happen that cause the court to revisit their decision even long after the divorce is over.
There are some big parenting mistakes that can land you right back in court and put custody on the line.
Factors that could result in a loss of child custody
No parent is perfect, so you have nothing to fear from ordinary mistakes. However, the following issues could result in the loss of your parenting time, force you to submit to restricted visitation only or even deprive you of custody and visitation entirely:
- Taking your kids at a different time or outside of the area specified in your parenting plan without first getting your co-parent or the court’s consent (which could also result in contempt and kidnapping charges)
- The use of corporal punishment to discipline your child (even if you believe it was justified)
- An arrest on domestic violence charges or subsequent conviction for such a crime could result in a judge limiting or revoking your custodial rights.
- Any recent history of substance abuse could impact your child custody rights, especially if you landed in court over drunk driving or drug possession charges
- False (or inflated) accusations about your co-parent, like unfounded accusations that they’ve abused or neglected your child
- Leaving young children or pre-teens unsupervised at home on a regular basis or for a long period of time
These aren’t the only things that can land you back in front of a family law judge, but they are among the most common.
What you should do to protect your custodial rights
Anyone can make allegations about the way you parent your child, but they may not be able to substantiate their claims. An experienced child custody attorney will want to know more about the allegations and your perspective on things before advising you of potential strategies that you can pursue.