Why People Lose Custody of a Child in California

Facing the prospect of losing custody of a child is a parent’s worst nightmare, and unfortunately, it can happen for various reasons under California child custody laws. A parent may find themselves at risk of losing custody, either temporarily or permanently, when it is deemed in the best interest of the child.

Understanding how child custody works in California is crucial, as every case is unique. We’ll delve deep into common reasons why individuals may lose custody, shedding light on how California child custody laws come into play.

Discovering how a parent can lose custody and the role of a California child custody attorney in these situations provides valuable insights into navigating this challenging legal landscape.

Child Neglect

A neglected child is at risk of developing physical and mental problems and will likely be removed from the home. A child may be considered neglected if:

  • They are not clean or groomed
  • They are not fed properly
  • They are unsupervised
  • Healthcare is not provided and parents don’t make it to scheduled appointments

When any of these situations are brought up, a child can be removed from the home.

Child Abuse

A step beyond neglect is child abuse. When someone physically, emotionally, or psychologically abuses a child, they are likely to lose custody. These actions are taken seriously and it is not in the child’s best interests to be in these situations.

False abuse allegations are also taken seriously. When a parent falsely accuses someone of child abuse, the court may decide to take custody and visitation away. The parent may also find that they have perjured themselves, which can also result in punishment.

Substance Abuse & Dependency

If a parent is dependent on alcohol or drugs, a child will be removed from the home. This type of activity puts the child at risk and prevents the parents from taking care of them. When a parent loses custody, they may be able to regain it once they complete a substance abuse program and stay sober for a certain amount of time.

Domestic Violence

Even if a child is not directly harmed, domestic violence in the home puts the parent at risk of losing custody. Often, the courts will determine that removing a child is in their best interest.

Mental Health Issues

While a mental illness within itself may not be enough reason for a parent to lose custody, if that illness threatens a child or makes a parent incapable of taking care of their child, they may lose custody.

If a mental health concern is brought up, a court may want a parent to have a psychological evaluation to determine if they should have custody of their child.

Failure to Adequately Co-Parent

When there is a custody agreement in place and one parent tries to harm the child’s relationship with the other parent, they may not be adequately co-parenting and may be engaging in parental alienation. Any parent who takes part in this type of behavior may have custody revoked.

Violating a Custody Order

Any violation of a child custody order may be grounds to lose custody either temporarily or permanently. Ignoring custody schedules and neglected court-ordered responsibilities are both valid reasons why custody can be lost.

Lack of Involvement in the Child’s Care

If a parent is always away, working a lot, or engaging in other activities that keep her away from her child, it can put a parent’s custodial rights at risk. When too much outside activity makes a parent absent in their child’s life, it may jeopardize their custody.

The Bottom Line

A parent can lose custody of their children in California for a variety of reasons. When the child’s best interest, safety, or health is at risk, the court may decide the child should be no longer with that parent.

Child abuse, neglect, domestic violence, and mental health issues are all valid reasons for the court to get involved. If you suspect that your partner is engaging in any activity that is putting your child at risk, it’s best to consult the authorities or the court so that you can protect your child.

Facing child custody or child support challenges in Orange County? William M. Strachan is your trusted advocate, specializing in providing expert guidance and support in matters of child custody, as well as other family law issues.

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