How Can A Mother Lose Custody of Her Child

How Can A Mother Lose Custody of Her Child?



A lot of fathers believe there is an unfairness in favor of mothers when it comes to child custody cases. Certainly, people hear of the mother losing custody a whole lot more than the custodial parent (in spite of gender) losing custody of their child(ren). This way of thinking is very understandable, but the reality is typically different. Don’t forget, specific parental behavior, in spite of gender, can be the cause for that parent to lose custody of their child(ren).

There are 2 things to think about as you keep reading:

  1. This portion addresses severe acts of misbehavior created by the custodial mother that needs be the cause of her losing the custody of her child(ren). It isn’t, nevertheless, about how a father wanting custody should handle themselves or take part in a lawsuit that isn’t required and unreasonable.
  2. This portion is for fathers that have a objective of acquiring custody over their child(ren) but so far doesn’t have a plan prepared to obtain that objective. There is no question of the determination needed to go to litigation in cases of child custody. When you don’t have a plan to achieve your goal, it is little more than a pipe dream on the part of the father. You should seriously ask yourself: “Am I willing to go through with this and dedicate myself to the process and the outcome?” – If you’re not sure or the answer is an absolute “No” – you are squandering your time reading any more.

Nevertheless, if you have the skills, determination, and financial ability to head to family court and uncover the misbehavior of the mother towards the child(ren) and then make positive changes in their lives, by reading this you are in a ideal place to keep reading!

The Main Grounds for A Mother to Lose Custody of her Child(ren)

  • The mother engaged in acts of physical abuse against the father or the child(ren).
  • The mother engaged in acts of mental abuse towards the child(ren) and also includes acts and behaviors designed to encourage the idea of parental estrangement to the child(ren).
  • The mother is neglectful towards the child(ren).
  • The mother exhibits frustrations or acts in a way that creates custodial hindrance of a father’s parenting time.
  • The mother is violating current orders enforced by the court.

How Can a Mother’s Physical Abuse Towards Her Child(ren) Cause Her to Lose Custody?

Undeniably, physical abuse are valid grounds for a mother to lose custody of her child(ren). Additionally, being the father, you could be found to be participating in child neglect if you don’t take suitable action and don’t hinder the continuing of said physical abuse. You have an obligation and a duty to take on the protection of your child(ren). In laymen’s terms, time cannot be allowed to be squandered and you should act without hesitation to remove your child(ren) from an environment that is physically abusive against them. A mother can (and often does) lose custody of her child(ren) in any of the ways detailed below. But take note, this is not a comprehensive or all-encompassing list.

  • Law enforcement choosing to proceed with action after a report of physical abuse towards the child(ren).
  • Social services (often called Child Protective Services or CPS) receives a report alleged physical abuse of a child(ren) and then opens up a case with the intention of investigating the allegations. CPS keeps the legal authority to physically remove a child(ren) from a home where they question or have evidence of a child(ren) being the victims of physical abuse and they typically offer custody, although on a brief and short-lived basis to other members of the family or the non-abusive parent. A lot of the time, this is the basis towards what is called a “dependency” court action.
  • The father heads to a family court and files what is known as a “request for order.” This procedure notifies the court of the physical abuse being carried out by the mother against the child(ren). In typical cases the order requests the court to decide granting sole physical and legal custody of the child(ren) to the father with the mother receiving visitation that is fittingly monitored.

The Mother’s Physical Abuse Against the Father

If the mother has engaged in acts of physical abuse to the father in the subsequent ways, she could lose the custody of her child(ren):

  • Law enforcement takes the mother of the child(ren) into custody after an act of domestic violence. Typically, this will mean the father will receive from law enforcement an “emergency protective order” and in many circumstances a criminal law judge will issue what is known as a criminal protective order. This occurs when the mother is on the way to being prosecuted by the city attorney or the DA.
  • The father requests sole physical and sole legal custody when he files with the family court, a domestic violence restraining order request that will probably comprise of conditions for supervised degrees of visitation for the mother of the child(ren).

Can Emotional Abuse Committed By the Mother of Her Child(ren) Reason for Her to Lose Custody?

The following are some of the most frequent types of emotional abuse that can be inflicted by a mother towards a father or a child(ren). To reiterate, this list is not comprehensive or all-encompassing:

  • Verbal abuse from the mother intended towards a child(ren). Typically, in the form of disdain, scornful or badgering and usually by the means of yelling at the child(ren) for grounds that cannot be rationally explained.
  • The mother persisting to cordon off the father in the minds of a child(ren) by using what is called parental alienation.
  • Even though its very challenging to provide compelling evidence to back up…the declaration of emotional or loving encouragement is being taken away or has been taken away from the child(ren).
  • Physical and/or emotional abuse of siblings or of the father. If a mother exposes a child to the above-mentioned abuse, these are justifiable and suitable grounds that the mother might lose custody of the child(ren) because of her actions.

How Significant Does Neglect Have to Get for a Mother to Lose Custody of Her Child(ren)?

Significant neglect is unquestionably a correct, appropriate and legitimate grounds for a mother to lose custody of her child(ren). Clearly, parenting isn’t a seamless process and even the stringent of family law judge welcomes that fact and that parents might make accidental mistakes. Nevertheless, making mistakes is a lot different from a parent practicing poor judgment consistently during the lives of their child(ren). When a mother chooses to significantly neglect the safeguarding, the well-being, overall health, and education of her child(ren) it is very clear these failures of duty should be justifiable for the mother to lose custody of her child(ren).

Could A Mother Lose Custody of Her Child(ren) Because of the Irritation Of Parenting Time?

There is an absence of a particular legal definition for irritation of parenting time, but it can be summarized as: unfluctuating and irrational limitation or hindrance with the parenting time of the other parent. There are at a minimum 3 distinct reasons why this needs to be a justifiable cause for a mother to lose custody of her child(ren):

  • It signifies disrespect and for the self-respect of the father and his role in the life of the child(ren) when a mother consistently impedes the parenting time of the father.
  • It exhibits a refusal or incompetence to co-parent.
  • It is suggestive the mother is capable of engaging in more damaging behaviors and conduct that is going to be harmful to the lives of the father and the child(ren). When this concern is not addressed at the beginning, the next step the mother typically takes is actively inducing parental alienation, more thoroughly separating the physical and emotional connection a father has with his child(ren).

When A Mother Is In Violation A Court Order, Is This Cause For Her To Lose Custody Of Her Child(ren)?

Another kind of misbehavior is when court orders are violated. As one would think, the severeness of the violation that was committed should mirror the severeness of any resulting outcomes. Even when a mother is regularly a couple of minutes late dropping off and/or picking up her child(ren), it is very doubtful this will lead to any change of the custodial arrangement. On the contrary, let’s say a mother decides to think that the parenting time for the father is simply a recommendation by the court that she can use her prudence in contrast to a court order – this will denote a violation of a very severe nature and could very well result in the custody of a child(ren) getting transferred to the father.

What Steps Are Required To Be Taken For a Child(ren) To be Removed From the Custody of A Mother?

This is subject to whether the father currently has a child custody order established.

When Married Parents Don’t Have A Child Custody Order Established

If the father is still married to the mother and no divorce papers have been filed – the father has to make a decision in regard to the current situation. His options include:

  • Commence and file formal divorce papers.
  • Begin the legal separation process.

When the parenting matters have become so tense it is just another indicator that the marriage is beyond repairing, it would be a good idea for fathers to do the following in regard to the treatment the child(ren) get from their mother:

  • Record the mother’s misbehavior and make a rational effort to communicate for the purpose of getting to a point where the misbehavior no longer continues. The documentation can be in the form of written or electronic contact with the mother.
  • The father should talk with an attorney involved in family law should the misbehavior of the mother continue. Jointly, the father and the family law attorney can examine the circumstances and look for further options.
  • The father needs to file a petition within the court for an order to receive a suitable amount of parenting and/or custody time, in the case that the father progresses with a child(ren) custody request, legal separation or divorce.

If Unmarried Parents Don’t Have A Child Custody Order In Place

In this situation the father I going to have to file what is called a paternity action. After it is filed, the petition will be served through suitable channels to the mother of the child(ren). Simultaneously, the father will need to acquire suitable child(ren) parenting time and child(ren) custody by filing and serving a petition for order of this type within the court.

If Parents Have A Custody Order In Place

In this situation, a father can have a number of options. Please note this is not a comprehensive or all-encompassing list.

  • After communication among the father and the child(ren) mother, a violation that has been recorded could result in an attempt of the parents gaining a private resolution devoid of further involvement from the court.
  • A father may try and show cause towards the mother by the filing of a contempt order with the intent of showing evidence that Mother’s behavior was in violation of present court orders.
  • A father can come to the decision he want the court to pursue parenting time or alteration of a child custody order. Subject to the seriousness of the violations the mother has imposed on her child(ren) is going to be a major factor in the decision of the father to seek not just the sole physical custody of a child(ren) but also attention should also be given to if the father also wishes to acquire sole legal custody of them.

Does The Custody Order Come From A Judgment?

The choices aforementioned are relevant if the father has a custody order after a final judgment. That being said, if a father requests an alteration of legal custody or requests considerable change to parenting time, he typically has to justify this to show why this will be in the child(ren) best interests. This should not be a battle if the misbehavior and poor conduct of the mother of the child(ren) is of a severe nature to demonstrate reason the mother should lose custody of the child(ren).

Next Steps

When fathers are having to deal with mothers that are being very irrational and even malevolent when the father is trying his hardest to fulfill and take his responsibilities seriously as a father, he needs to, without hesitation, seek a courts intervention. There isn’t any doubt the life and wellbeing of your child(ren) are completely worth your time and effort. To take no action, puts the child(ren) at risk for being further exposed to a detrimental, unhealthy or perilous environment that could have a negative and lasting effect on their present and future lives.


  1. Group, W., & Canterbury Law Group. (2020, January 07). Can A Mother Lose Custody Of Her Child? CLG. Retrieved December 16, 2020, from

Speak With Our Child Custody Attorney In Scottsdale

Our child custody and guardianship attorney in Phoenix and Scottsdale will advance your case with concern and personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

An experienced family law attorney will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. We advocate for our clients, so they have the brightest future possible. Give us a call today at 480-999-0800 for a free consultation.


Jennifer Moshier Collaborative Divorce Lawyer Scottsdale Arizona
Jennifer Moshier, Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer


Recent Posts



Finding the right mediator can be difficult.


Divorce and Family Law

When a case demands litigation, you’ll have the benefit of 19 years of litigation experience in California and Arizona. But when a case demands collaborative law, or mediation, we can meaningfully describe why collaborative law or mediation may or may not be your best option.

Moshier Law services all of Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. Jennifer and her team of professionals seek to resolve Family Law cases efficiently with your goals in mind.

Jennifer Moshier, Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer

Trail Potter  –  Divorce  Lawyer

You are now leaving

You will be redirected to

Click the link above to continue or CANCEL