LEGAL GUIDE
Written by Avvo Staff | Oct 22, 2015

How mothers without custody can regain it

Mothers without custody aren't necessarily stuck with the court's decision forever. You can ask the court to change the order, but you'll need a good reason for it to do so.

Reasons a mother may lose custody

Your first step is acknowledging why you lost custody. Keep in mind losing custody doesn't mean you’re a bad mother. It only means the judge felt, at that time, it was best for your child.

A judge may deny custody for various reasons, including:

  • Safety issues in your home.

  • The other parent was more involved in your child’s life.

  • The judge considered your new partner a potential threat to your child.

  • The judge felt you had anger issues that could be bad for your child. For example, maybe you talked badly about your ex to your child or sent threatening emails (whether you meant it won’t matter).

Being honest about what happened will help you fix it. Then you’ll have evidence to support your claim that getting custody back is best for your child.

What happens when you lose custody

Mothers without custody rarely lose all rights to their children.

Losing physical custody means your child no longer lives with you, but you’ll usually still have visitation rights. Depending on the situation, you may also have have overnight visitation.

Losing legal custody means you can’t make major decisions about your child’s life. Your child’s custodian can make all decisions without input from you.

Getting custody back

To get back custody, you'll need to convince a judge that it’s now in your child's best interest to be in your care. You’ll need strong supporting evidence, because courts don't like to disrupt a child's stable routine.

If specific issues caused you to lose custody, you’ll need show you took steps to fix them, such as:

  • Repairing safety issues in your home
  • Moving away from the person causing the judge concern
  • Going through parenting or anger management classes

You’ll also want to show you’re an attentive and caring parent. Taking advantage of all visitation times and returning your child on time can help.

Issues in the other parent's life can also be reasons to change custody. For example:

  • Their new job requires a lot of travel, so they have less time for parenting
  • They’re denying you visitation
  • They’re trying to damage your relationship with your child

A professional custody evaluator may also be able to help. They can tell the judge about your relationship with your child and your home environment, among other things.

Procedure for changing custody

The method for changing custody can vary, but in general you’ll file a written request outlining the reasons you’re asking for custody. If the judge finds your request reasonable you’ll go to trial, where you’ll present your evidence.

Your ex, of course, has the option of opposing any changes you suggest.

If you have questions about getting custody back, a family law attorney experienced with custody cases can help you explore your options and put together a strong case.

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