5 Surprising Reasons You Could Lose Custody of Your Child

Child custody, now referred to as legal decision-making authority in Arizona, is not a right for all parents. After all, the courts consider what is in the best interest of the child – not the parent. While rare, there are instances where a you could lose custody of your child. However, losing legal decision-making authority is different from losing parenting time. Parenting time is the amount of visitation that non-custodial parent has, which does not have the same limitations.

5 Reasons You Could Lose Legal Decision Making Authority or Parenting Time

Again, parenting time and legal decision-making authority are different. However, there are instances where authority and parenting time are both stripped from a parent.

1. Relationships between Parents and Child

The courts look at the relationship between the child and his or her parents in the past, present, and future. If one parent has been historically absent from the child’s life, the courts might grant legal decision-making authority to the parent who has cared for the child. In this case, the non-custodial parent would still have parenting time.

2. Domestic Violence

History of significant domestic violence or child abuse, pursuant to Statute Section 25-403.03 could remove parenting time and custody from the abusing parent.

3. Drug Abuse or Alcohol Abuse

If one parent is currently suffering from drug or alcohol abuse, or they are in a registered rehabilitation program, the court might issue a temporary order giving sole authority to one parent until the other parent is fit again. Parenting time, however, might include supervised visitation until a court assessment is complete.

4. Criminal Acts

Previous criminal acts are not automatic grounds for giving one sole legal authority over another. However, depending on the severity of the crime, pending criminal trials or a parent currently serving a sentence would likely result in a parent being granted sole authority. The courts would then decide if parenting time was in the child’s best interest.

5. Mental Illness

Severe mental diseases that affect a parent’s ability to care for their child could impact the court’s decision on legal authority. However, if the parent with the mental illness is receiving treatment, medication, and has it under control, the courts could still allow joint decision-making authority.

Contact an Attorney about Parenting Time and Legal Decision Making Authority

Determining decision-making authority and navigating the rules of parenting time is not easy. For your custody case, contact a family law attorney from Udall Shumway, PLC to explore your options.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding You Could Lose Custody of Your Child, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Lindsay A.M. Olivarez at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.