How a Mother Can Lose Custody of Her Child in New Jersey

The bond between a mother and child is like none other. While in the past, mothers were afforded rights regarding their children, today, both parents have equal rights to custody and parental responsibility. If you fear being left out of your child’s life during divorce, call a dedicated custody attorney to learn how a mother can lose custody of her child in New Jersey.

How Marital Status Affects Parental Rights

Both parents have equal rights to the child even they were born out of wedlock, just as if the child was the result of a marriage. The only difference is that there was no presumption of paternity for a child born out of wedlock. As such, it may be necessary to legally establish paternity. This paternity could be established either via an agreement between the two parents or by a court order. If there is some question of the child’s father, the court may order a paternity test to establish arrangements such as child support.

The process of determining custody differs for married and unmarried couples. Normally, custody issues for married parents arise in the context of the divorce. However, if the parents are not married, custody issues may be present, even without a separation.

Married and unmarried couples will file custody complaints and conduct discovery for trial a bit differently. A dedicated and experienced family lawyer could outline the process of fighting for custodial control of a child and explain how New Jersey mothers may lose custody of their child.

Reasons Custody May Be Lost in New Jersey

Family courts will always rule in the best interest of children in family cases. If one parent is deemed unfit by the court, they may lose their right to be a part of the child’s life and make parenting decisions. The process begins with one parent filing a complaint about the other and alleging that they are unfit due to some factor. Two of the most common factors that could lead to a loss of custody for mothers in New Jersey is if there is an alleged substance abuse issue or if the mother is alienating the child from their other parent. Another way how a mother can lose custody of her child in New Jersey is if the mother is acting negligently.

Neglect is when a parent or caregiver fails to provide proper supervision for a child or adequate food, clothing, shelter, education, or medical care although financially able or assisted to do so. Not only could these actions lead to a loss of custody, but it is also a crime to neglect a child, and they could be permanently harmed as a result of this neglect. If there is ever any confusion over what constitutes neglect of a child in New Jersey, a mother’s rights attorney with experience handling custody cases could advise a mother on the legal parameters of neglect.

If a mother loses custody, the father does not automatically receive full custody. When the original complaint of fitness is addressed in court, the judge will determine who the fittest caretaker of the child would be. The court may award custody to the father, grandparents, other family members, or in extreme cases, take the child into the custody of the state.

An Attorney Could Protect Your Custody as  Mother

It may be difficult to understand how a mother can lose custody of her child in New Jersey, but there are many situations where a court may remove a mom’s custodial rights. If you are afraid that your custodial rights will be taken away by the courts or if your ex-spouse is alleging that you are an unfit parent, contact a seasoned family lawyer today to start building your case. With an attorney’s help, you may be able to stay in your child’s life.

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