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Most Common Reasons Why Parents Lose Child Custody

When a court issues a child custody order, there is a belief that the custodial arrangement will have at least some sense of stability or even permanence. In other words, a New Jersey custody order is not to be changed or alters on something of a whim. With that said, there are some more common scenarios that do lead to a parent ending up in a position to lose child custody. The most frequently occurring reasons why a custodial parent loses custody include:

  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Spousal abuse
  • Drug or alcohol abuse or addiction
  • Alienation and false claims about noncustodial parent
  • Violation of custody order or parenting time
  • Significant health issue
Best Interests of a Child

The determination of when any type of custodial change is to occur drives from a consideration of what is in the best interests of a child. New Jersey and all other states apply the best interests of a child standard is determining a custody and parenting time arrangement. This a situation in which a custodial parent may face the prospect of losing child custody.

The best interests of a child standard mandates that a court consider the specific facts and circumstances of a case in ascertaining whether an existing custody order should change, including whether a parent should lose child custody. In this regard, a court considers a variety of factors that include the overall fitness of the parents, the conditions of the residences of the parents, and so forth.

Child Abuse or Neglect

One of the most commonly occurring reasons why a parent might lose custody is a situation in which it is demonstrated that a custodial parent has been abusive or neglectful towards the child or children. Nothing is more an afront to the best interests of a child than a custodial parent who is abusive or neglectful.

Spousal Abuse

Abuse perpetrated by the custodial parent on the noncustodial parent may give rise to the need to alter an existing custodial arrangement. Before diving a bit deeper into this reason for loss of child custody, it is important to remember that domestic, spouse, or former spouse abuse can come in a number of forms that include:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Sexual
  • Financial

Physical spousal abuse certainly is less likely to occur in a post-divorce setting. Emotional and financial abuse are not. Abusive conduct is more likely to result in a change of custody if it occurs in front of a child or children.

Drug or Alcohol Abuse or Addiction

In this day and age, perhaps the most frequently occurring reason for a lose of child custody is a custodial parent laboring under drug or alcohol abuse or addiction. (At this juncture in time, this type of situation is more frequently being referred to as substance use disorder.) A custodial parent suffering from active substance use disorder can fairly be said to jeopardize the health, safety, and welfare of a minor child or children.

Alienation and False Claims Pertaining to Noncustodial Parent

A situation in which a custodial parent may lose child custody is one in which that individual makes false claims against the noncustodial parent. A change of a custody order may also occur if the custodial parent strives to alienate the noncustodial parent from a child or children.

Violation of Custody Order or Parenting Time

In addition, a parent may lose primary residential custody is he or she violates the custody or parenting time order with some degree of regularity. For example, if the custodial parent prevents the noncustodial parent from exercising his or her parenting time rights, the ultimate consequence of such behavior may be a change of custody.

Significant Health Issue

Another relatively common reason why a parent may lose child custody is the onset of some type of more significant health issue, condition, or disease. The reality is that many health issues, conditions, or diseases can inhibit a person’s ability to fully and effectively parent a minor child.

Hire a Fighter: Retain a Skilled, Tenacious Child Custody Lawyer

If you are facing an issue relating to child custody and have questions about your case, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845-7400 today. An initial consultation can be scheduled any time that is convenient for you. There is no charge for an initial consultation and case evaluation.

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Peter has integrity, and values his relationships with his clients beyond his financial relationship with them. For me to say this about any lawyer is really saying something. He is compassionate, straightforward and knowledgeable. I would easily recommend him to anybody. Lewie W.
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Peter Van Aulen handled my case with great diligence and integrity. He is also a compassionate individual who realizes what a difficult time divorce can be emotionally. Peter works hard and doesn't take any shortcuts in preparing for a case… I highly recommend Mr. Van Aulen and his staff. Chuck Solomon
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Peter is an exceptionally great attorney. He handled my child custody case and was able to ease any of my concerns with honest answers. He always took the time to explain the pros/cons and was always available to answer any questions that I had… I would highly recommend this attorney to anyone who is looking for one. Jessica Cruz
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Peter Van Aulen is a very compassionate, honest and straightforward person. He was there for me at my lowest point with a genuine concern not only for my situation, but for me and my child's well being above all… He is fair and he is strong and when push comes to shove he is there for you. Cathy Dodge
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Our cousin used Peter's law office to help with a sticky custody situation. He was extremely responsive, very nice and most importantly did an awesome job with the court! He is awesome. Lawrence Polsky

*Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances