How to Avoid the Most Common Ways to Lose Custody

Issues involving children and custody are often the most acrimonious and hard-fought battles during a divorce. Parents will fight hard to make sure that a court order reflects what he or she believes is in the child’s best interest. During a child custody case, it can be easy to lose sight of the ultimate goal and get caught up in the fight. Making this mistake can result in a loss of custody. There are many common mistakes that parents should avoid to steer clear of the possibility of losing custody of their children.

The most obvious way to lose custody of children is to display signs of unfitness. This would include abuse of alcohol or drugs, but could also include bringing unsuitable people around the children or leaving them in the care of inappropriate caregivers. During litigation, some people will turn to substances or wild behavior to “blow off steam” and relieve the stress of an ongoing court case. Displaying this kind of irresponsibility, especially in the presence of the children, is a quick way to lose custody, as it could put the children directly in danger.

Another way to lose custody is failure to stay involved in the child’s life. Even if the other parent has traditionally been responsible for doctor’s appointments, PTA meetings, and school shopping, with a divorce, both parents will have to step in and take up these roles. Failure or refusal to become involved with the day-to-day planning of a child’s life can easily lead to a undesired custody result because it can show the parent is not involved enough to be a suitable person to have primary custody and control of the children.

Third, custody can be lost if one parent makes efforts to alienate the children from the other parent, either intentionally or unintentionally. This can come in the form of disparaging the other parent, refusal to share information, or being unnecessarily restrictive with contact or visitation. Parental alienation is detrimental to a child’s psychological well-being, and the courts will take these actions very seriously.

Finally, follow your attorney’s instructions. Your attorney has the best interest of your case in mind, and has a much more neutral view of the situation. He or she can give you vital guidance to ensure that you have the best chance possible of achieving your custody goals.

If you are facing a child custody suit, you need an to help you. Contact us today at (732) 529-6937 and we can talk about the best strategy to achieve an order that suits your child’s best interest.

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

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