Divorce is difficult, even under the best of circumstances when there are few difficult issues for the divorcing couple to resolve. Understandably then, it can be far more difficult when the parties have to resolve complex issues – particularly issues about their children. The determination of custody arrangement is one of the most emotional matters a couple will go through during a divorce. Needless to say, it can be even more emotional and difficult to have to revisit and change a custody arrangement – but it does happen. Sometimes, for any number of reasons, a parent may claim that there is a substantial change in the circumstances that require a change to the physical care of a child. While no parent wants this outcome, it is important to understand that it does happen and to know some of the most common reasons why.
- Abuse: Child abuse is, unfortunately, one of the most common reasons to lose primary care of a child. In some cases, the abuse is glaringly obvious, and in other cases, it may be more subtle and more difficult to detect. Sometimes, abusers will try to disguise the abuse as corporal punishment, but there is a line between appropriate punishment and abuse that should not be crossed. Sometimes, the abusive parent was also abused when he or she was a child, and in abusing their own child, they are perpetuating the cycle of abuse. While this is an explanation, it is by no means a justification. The truth of the matter is that judges rarely hesitate to take physical care away from an abusive parent.
- Neglect: In some cases, the “abuse” that occurs is not the result of taking any specific or overt action as much as it is failing to engage in the necessary behaviors that any parent should undertake as part of properly caring for and nurturing their child.
- Violation of Custody Orders: Some parents enter into custody agreements on terms they both find mutually agreeable. In other cases, a court makes the determination as to the appropriate custody arrangement. In either case, however, and whatever the terms of the custody arrangement become, the parties are expected to follow those terms. Certainly, minor violations, such as dropping a child off late or failing to make a phone call every now and then, will typically not be a reason to lose primary physical care. Willful and significant violations may be, however. Be certain to make every attempt to follow the court order that is in place, and if it is ever necessary to seek modification, doing so through the proper legal channels is best.
- Refusal to Co-Parent: It is only reasonable, during a divorce and after, to feel somewhat less than friendly toward your ex-spouse. It is important, however, to make every effort to work through these feelings in a healthy way and not to allow them to become a barrier to successful co-parenting. Typically, courts frown upon one parent being stubborn, uncooperative, and uncommunicative toward the other. In the end, even if it may be difficult to do, making the effort to co-parent successfully is worth it.
- Abduction: Understandably, when many people hear the word “abduction,” they think of a dangerous and criminally-minded stranger who preys upon and kidnaps small children – and sometimes, this is the case. In other cases, however, one parent actually abducts his or her own child. This often occurs when a parent is very dissatisfied with the custody arrangement, believing they have not received the time they believe they deserve with the child. It might also occur simply because one parent feels such overwhelming animosity toward the other to the extent that they wish for the other parent not to spend time with the child. Needless to say, whatever the reason, abducting any child, including your own, is always ill-advised and certainly grounds to lose physical care.
- False Allegations: More often than not, divorce can be an emotionally tumultuous time. Those going through a divorce may feel any number of strong emotions – grief, anger, resentment, jealousy – and all of those feelings are normal. The important thing, however, is to recognize that those emotions will pass with time, and that taking actions specifically for the purpose of hurting your ex-spouse can bring harm to you as well. Sometimes, one parent will make false allegations against another, specifically for the purpose of trying to obtain custody of their children or for some other purpose they believe will be beneficial. In the long run, however, this almost never works out to be the case. Courts unwaveringly frown upon false testimony and false allegations, and if anyone will lose physical care, it is not the person about whom the false allegations are made – it is the person who is making them. Despite the temptation, this is to be avoided at all costs.
Call 303 Legal Today
At 303 Legal, we understand that for many parents, there is nothing in life that is more important to them than their children. We understand the fear, anxiety, and panic that can arise when faced with the possibility of losing custody, particularly if you feel that you are a loving parent who does your utmost to care for your child. On the other side of the coin, we understand that some parents may be facing the opposite set of circumstances. An ex-spouse might be behaving in an abusive or neglectful way, and it may be necessary to stand up and speak up for your child’s best interests.
Whatever your particular situation, at 303 Legal, we understand the complexities of family law and how that law might apply to your particular circumstances. Because we have years of experience successfully practicing in a wide variety of family law cases, we will be able to pursue the strongest legal strategies on your behalf as you seek to do what’s best for the children you love. We encourage you to call us today to discuss your particular circumstances and how we might be able to help. We look forward to the opportunity to speak with you soon.