Under what circumstances can a parent lose custody?

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Under what circumstances can a parent lose custody?

It came time for me to pick my son up from the end of his visitation with his father. I had my boyfriend drive my car to pick him up since I had been drinking. My son is well acquainted with him and he was not drinking. My son’s father refused to return my son and is now taking me to court for custody and calling me neglectful and unfit. Is this enough for me to lose custody of my child?

Asked on November 18, 2012 under Family Law, Ohio

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The fact that you have been drinking right before the child was to be in your care to a degree that you felt it was not safe for you to drive is a factor that most judges will take into consideration when deciding custody.  If this was an isolated event and you agree to alcohol consumption restrictions, then you can neutralize the effect of one bad day of judgment.  This is your best case scenario in a custody dispute.  If your ex- can show that this a pattern of poor decision making, then this could be the final straw that concerns a judge enough to deprive you of custody.  The judge will make his decision, overall, on what is in the best interest of the child.  If your ex- can show that your alcohol consumption limits your ability to be a good role model or parent for your child, then he could successfully fight for custody.  In the future, it's probably best to abstain from consuming alochol while you have or about to have the child in your possession.


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