Under what circumstances can a parent lose custody?

UPDATED: Nov 18, 2012

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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


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

Answered 10 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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