How Can You Lose Child Custody in Maryland?

gavel with family

There is a lot of information circulating the internet about how to obtain child custody, but what about how to lose custody? When it comes time to request child custody, especially sole custody, as a parent you should familiarize yourself with what behaviors to avoid as well. Today, we are diving into the subject of child custody “do nots”.

Ways to Lose Custody

Physically abusing your children

If your ex-spouse has exhibited any type of physical violence, including hitting, slapping, biting, kicking, scratching, or inflicting any kind of physical harm on your children, you have every right to seek sole custody. Physical abuse against a child is a severe offense and can cause a parent to lose custody. This is especially true if child protective services are involved.

Neglecting your children

A neglectful parent does not provide adequate care for a child. This includes food, clothing, shelter, education, appropriate medical care, and more. The court considered neglect a severe ground and you can lose custody over this issue.

Emotionally abusing your children

While emotional abuse is not as easy to prove as physical abuse, it is a reason a parent can lose child custody. Witness accounts can provide evidence of emotional abuse, which might consist of manipulation, gaslighting, humiliation, rejection, belittling behavior, and insulting.

Interfering with parenting time

You cannot deny your co-parent parenting time if the court has approved it. You could lose custodial rights if you are always interfering with parenting time and refuse to allow your child to see their other parent.

Violating a court order

You cannot violate an established custody or visitation order. If one parent is given visitation rights, but you refuse to follow them and allow that parent to see their child, you could lose custody. Canceling the visits of another parent is a serious offense and could result in the cancellation of sole custody.

Abducting a child

You cannot take a child away without the permission of the other parent. You also cannot decide to relocate or move without informing the other parent.

Abusing drugs and/or alcohol

If one parent is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, the court considers this behavior to go against the best interests of the child standard. A child exposed to this behavior puts him/her at risk.

Going to prison

Maryland courts will generally not award custody or unsupervised visitation to a parent who has been found guilty of first- or second-degree murder of the of the following:

  • The other parent of the child
  • Another child of the parent’s
  • Any family member residing in the household of either parent

What Is the Impact of Domestic Violence on Custody Decisions?

In every custody case, each parent must inform the court of any instances of domestic violence, protective orders, or termination of parental rights of another child. If the court finds that a parent has committed domestic violence, it will not award that parent custody or unsupervised visitation unless there is no likelihood the parent will commit this abuse in the future.

The court may order certain protections as well including but not limited to the following:

  • Order supervised visitation between the child and the abusive parent
  • Order the abusive parent to pay for supervised visitation
  • Prohibit all visitation and contact between the abusive parent and the child
  • Expedite the custody case

Termination of Parental Rights

In extreme cases, it is possible for the court to terminate parental rights if it finds the parent is unfit to care for the child and it would be in the best interests of the child for that relationship to end. The court considers the following factors when making such determinations:

  • Sexual abuse of the child
  • Torture of the child
  • Chronic and life-threating neglect of a child
  • Chronic abuse of the other parent or child

Do you need assistance with your child custody case? Contact our office online or via (410) 593-0040 to schedule a consultation with our firm today.

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