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How Can a Mother Lose Custody of Her Child?

How Can a Mother Lose Custody of Her Child Featured Image

Winning custody of a child after separation or divorce is distressing processing, to begin with. If a mother were to have the custody arrangement reversed or revoked, that would create even more misery for them.

A mother could lose child custody on many grounds. Usually, these allegations aren’t taken lightly.

There have been instances where mothers lost their custody rights after proven allegations against them.

Having your custody rights revoked would mean you have committed one or more of the following transgressions:

9 Possible Reasons You Might Lose Custody of Your Child

Engaging in any of the following activities might cause you to lose custody of your child:


Suppose a mother is found to have abused her child or children physically or psychologically, and the allegation is proven. In that case, she will likely lose child custody according to custody agreement Alberta.

Physical abuse includes but is not limited to kicking, scratching, hitting, burning, biting, sexual abuse, physical torture, or any other form of injury the mother can inflict on the child.

There are several ways to manifest and interpret emotional, verbal, or psychological abuse. The following are the most common:

  • Imposing a sense of rejection, uselessness, or worthlessness on the child.
  • Humiliating, demeaning, or ridiculing the child.
  • Using threats of abandonment, destruction of possession, or physical harm to terrorize a child
  • Isolating children socially or preventing and forbidding them to socialize.
  • Encouraging or enforcing children to get involved in unacceptable or deviant behavior. It also includes manipulating, exploiting, or corrupting them.

A child might not be able to articulate psychological abuse. However, social workers, child psychologists, and child support specialists lookout for behavioral expressions that indicate abuse.

Following are a list of common signs that suggest a child might be going through psychological or emotional abuse:

  • Difficulty adjusting at school
  • Eating or sleeping disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Uncontrolled anger
  • Rebellious behavior

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence refers to the mother abusing household members other than the child. This could cause the mother to lose custody of her child.

Exposure to domestic violence can have serious implications on their mental growth. Unstable situations in a household with domestic violence may escalate anytime and leave the children vulnerable to get affected by collateral damage.

If proven to be engaged in such activities, a mother’s custody rights can be revoked.

Fabrication of Lies Regarding Abuse

If a mother makes false allegations against the non-custodial parent regarding abuse, she might lose her custodial rights.

Furthermore, she is found to have involved her child in this false transgression and made attempts to deceive the investigator of her allegations, the court, and the lawyers, she might end up losing her visitation rights along with the custody.


Neglect is a broad concept and a grave offense regarding child custody and care. It encompasses the child’s access to basic human needs such as health, education, and such.

The non-custodial parent can use this ground to reverse the court’s custody decision. Neglect is considered a type of child abuse that includes activities such as:

  • Refusing to provide shelter
  • Failure to keep the child well-groomed, clean, and healthy
  • Leaving the child unsupervised
  • Failing or refusing to take the child to social, educational, healthcare, and other important appointments

If a child is left on their own, they are likely to become exposed to dangers and threats to their safety. They can contract diseases and also become vulnerable to developing mental illnesses.

However, if the infraction is minor or rare (i.e., not maintaining the doctor’s appointment or being late at picking up the child from school), it would not directly lead the mother to lose custody. These can happen anytime, anywhere, and the court would consider this.

If similar infractions persist for a prolonged period consistently and repeatedly and threaten your child’s well-being, the court would definitely look into it.

Serious Mental Health Issues

Parents with mental health concerns are not directly denied custodial rights.

Yet, the non-custodial parent still needs to prove to the court that the child’s well-being and safety might get compromised by the mother’s psychological state or issues.

The court might then prompt the parents to undergo psychological testing since these are severe and sensitive issues. The court might also have them undergo assessments and counseling by professionals prior to reaching the verdict.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse

A mother who is known or diagnosed with dependency or addiction to alcohol or illicit substances might easily lose her visitation and custody rights. The mother’s fitness and capacity to care for her children come into question once she is proven to be addicted or dependent on these substances.

If one or both parents are drug addicts, children are more likely to suffer from abuse and neglect, imitate their parents’ behaviour, or pick up their bad practices.

If a mother raises suspicion of being a drug addict or substance dependent, the court can order drug testing. If she fails a drug test, it doesn’t automatically imply that the mother is losing her custody rights. However, it severely affects the court’s inclination in her favor.

Parental Alienation

Parental alienation refers to the act of damaging the co-parent’s image and/or physically withholding the children from the co-parent. In terms of shared custody and visitation rights, the parents are legally obliged to maintain the custody arrangements.

Making derogatory and demeaning comments and attempting to influence the children to turn them against the non-custodial parent is not at all acceptable. A mother can be accused of parental alienation even if she regularly schedules important trips or appointments at a time that causes their father not to be with them on the scheduled time.

The father might keep details of circumstances under which the mother somehow sabotaged the scheduled custody arrangement or visitation time; he would be able to use them as evidence. Courts might limit or even revoke parents’ custody rights engaging in such activities.

Failure to Fulfill Parental Duties

A mother who is away from her children most of the time (i.e., on business, in military service, working multiple jobs, or anything taking valuable family time away from the children) would be risking her custody rights.

She may have her children’s welfare at heart genuinely wish to raise them. But being away from children and not fulfilling basic parental duties regularly might lead to loss of custody rights.

The co-parent could use it as a valid point in a custody battle. The courts prioritize the children’s best interests above all and would naturally award custody to the parent who can be present and care for the children.

Violating Court Orders and/or Custody Arrangements

Several activities can be seen as a violation of court order, which has serious implications. If the mother is found to be violating court orders or terms in the custody arrangement, she might have her custodial rights revoked or withheld.

For example, the parents may have equal shared custody. If the mother fails to comply or interferes with parenting time or rights, she would be considered in violation of a court order.


The instances and situations discussed above might not always occur intentionally. The intent may be appropriate, but actions might suggest otherwise. In any case, it is better to be aware and alert before your activity raises a flag that results in you, as a mother, losing custody of her children. Another thing to mention here, you always have the right to seek proper legal rights through child custody lawyer in Calgary.