Reasons a Parent May Lose Child Custody in New Jersey

After a court establishes a child custody order, it is generally expected that the arrangement will provide a certain level of stability and potentially even permanence. In New Jersey, a child custody order can only be modified if circumstances change substantially. That said, some situations can lead a parent to lose child custody, either temporarily or permanently. Losing custody of your child can be a traumatic and stressful event. Generally, the “best interests of the child” principle guides decisions on whether a parent may lose custody of their child. In this article, we look at some of the reasons a parent may lose child custody in New Jersey.

Abuse and Neglect

The first main reason a parent may lose custody of their child is if it is shown that the parent has abused or neglected the child. Child abuse can encompass physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. Neglect, on the other hand, is defined as the failure to provide essential care. 

Mental Health Issues

Having mental health issues does not automatically mean that a parent will lose custody of their child. The court is concerned when a parent has severe or untreated mental health issues that significantly affect their ability to care for their child. If a parent’s mental health condition puts their child’s safety and well-being in jeopardy, they could lose custody of the child.

Alcohol or Substance Abuse

Another common factor that can lead to a parent losing custody of their child is alcohol or substance abuse. A parent suffering from alcohol or substance addiction cannot take care of their child and give them a safe living environment. Alcohol or substance abuse can jeopardize a child’s health. If a parent loses custody of their child due to alcohol or substance abuse, they may have to undergo rehabilitation or treatment as a condition for regaining custody.

Significant Health Issue

Often, a parent cannot control whether they suffer from a physical health condition. The court understands this and cannot strip a parent of their custody rights simply because they have a health issue. However, if a parent has a significant health issue, illness, or condition, they may lose custody of their child. Some health issues, illnesses, or conditions make it hard for a parent to provide their child with the care they need.

Spousal Abuse

Abuse perpetrated by one parent to the other can lead to the loss of custody rights. Even if abuse is not directed at the child, it can be detrimental to the child’s psychological and emotional well-being. Apart from leading to the alterations of custody arrangements, allegations of domestic abuse can lead to the issuance of a restraining order.

Violation of a Court Order

Disobeying an existing child custody order, for example, by refusing to allow the other parent court-ordered visitation or relocating without permission, can result in a parent losing custody of their child.

Contact a New Jersey Family Law Attorney

If you are facing a child custody-related issue and need help with your case, call The Trabosh Law firm at 856-874-8840 to schedule a consultation with our New Jersey family law attorney.

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