Can Family Court Force a Mother to Give Up Her Parental Rights & Also Her Visitation Rights?

By Heather Frances J.D.

When you divorce, the court will determine how custody of your children is split between you and your spouse, and the court has authority to remove all parental rights from either parent under provisions in your state’s laws. Generally, the court’s decisions are based on the best interests of your child, which usually involve giving the child a chance to form bonds with both parents.

When you divorce, the court will determine how custody of your children is split between you and your spouse, and the court has authority to remove all parental rights from either parent under provisions in your state’s laws. Generally, the court’s decisions are based on the best interests of your child, which usually involve giving the child a chance to form bonds with both parents.

Physical Vs. Legal Custody

Custody of a child can be divided into physical custody – the day-to-day care of the child – and legal custody – the ability to make important decisions about the child. Most “parental rights” are aspects of legal custody, but a family law court can deny physical custody and visitation as well as legal custody. Laws vary on how this works in each state, but noncustodial parents are not guaranteed visitation.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Best Interests

The family court’s ultimate goal is to determine a custody and visitation plan that is in the best interests of the child, and a court generally finds it in the child’s best interests to have visitation with the noncustodial parent. However, if the custodial parent can provide evidence that visitation is not in the child’s best interests, the court may limit or eliminate visitation. A guardian ad litem or other neutral representative of the child may also bring visitation concerns to the court’s attention.

Losing Visitation

Visitation is not normally denied unless the noncustodial parent is endangering the child’s physical or emotional health. For example, a family law court could deny visitation because the noncustodial parent was intoxicated during visitation, allowed the child to engage in risky or dangerous behavior or threatened or abused the child during visitation. Short of denying visitation, the court can alter the visitation schedule or require visitation to be supervised when a parent’s conduct interferes with the best interests of the child.

Restoring Visitation

A mother who has been denied visitation may have options to regain visitation rights, such as attending a drug treatment program or parenting classes. Sometimes, the court will suspend visitation until the mother has completed some type of counseling or treatment, and the mother must comply with the court’s instructions to regain visitation. Your state’s laws may give a specific procedure for regaining visitation.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
New York Statute for Visitation

References

Related articles

Child Custody & Loss of Parental Rights From Drug Abuse

When a parent struggles with drug addiction, his parental rights may be affected. In some cases, child protection agencies may remove a child from a parent’s care if that parent abuses drugs. Likewise, during a divorce, a court may deny a parent custody if he has untreated drug abuse or addiction issues or terminate his parental rights entirely if he does not address his drug abuse problems. Therefore, treating the underlying illness is often key to protecting custody and parental rights.

Father's Child Custody Rights When the Child's Mother Is Mentally Ill

Mental illness can affect not only a person's life, but those around them as well. For that reason, courts take mental disorders seriously in deciding child custody matters. However, state law also recognizes the importance of having both parents involved in a child's life, as well as a parent's right to raise a child without the government interfering. Understanding how a mother's mental illness can factor into a custody determination will help you properly exercise you rights as a father.

The Best Interest of Children in a Custody Evaluation

Understanding the needs of a child is a crucial component to making an informed custody decision. Custody matters are governed by state law; however, every state requires courts to promote the best interests of the child. When parents can work together, a judge is generally inclined to conclude that the parents' agreed upon parenting proposal serves the best interests of the child. If parents cannot agree, the court must make its own determination. In these instances, neutral custody evaluations are often used to provide judges with an opinion from a qualified professional as to what arrangement promotes the best interests of the child.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Can a Noncustodial Parent Lose Visitation for Nonpayment of Child Support?

Courts encourage relationships between parents and children, so an ex-spouse who does not pay child support as ordered ...

Can a Parent With Sole Custody Deny Visits?

If you have sole custody, you probably have a court order that awards you both legal custody and physical custody. ...

Can a Parent That Abandons His Family Get Visitation Rights?

Abandonment means different things in different contexts. Sometimes one parent reacts immaturely to marital problems by ...

Parental Visitation Rights in New Jersey

Public policy in New Jersey holds that both parents should be regularly involved in their child's life. When one parent ...

Browse by category