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When Your Ex Doesn’t Get Custody of the Children, but Neither Do You

June 19, 2020

The first step in determining child custody is deciding what kind of parenting arrangement would be in the child’s best interests. The court starts with the assumption that the ideal situation is for each parent to be with the children about 50 percent of the time; some families are able to work things out so that each parent gets 182.5 days of parenting time per year. Simply having a bitter divorce battle will not cause you to lose custody of your children, no matter how much your ex threatens to take them away. Even if you have recently been convicted of a crime or your ex has filed for a restraining order against you, the court will probably order supervised visitation instead of suspending your parenting time completely. If the court determines that it is not safe for your children to spend time with you at all, it may not award you any parenting time. It is even possible that the court will not award any parenting time to any parent and will instead place the children with an extended family member or a foster family. No matter how bad things have gotten between you and your ex-spouse, the family law attorneys at Iwanyshyn & Associates in Greater Pittsburgh can help you maintain or re-establish a relationship with your children.

Reasons That Parents Lose Custody

You do not have to be perfect to be a parent. Pennsylvania case law holds that it is best for children to have a stable relationship with both parents, even if the parents’ disapprove of each other’s behavior. Following a vegan diet, entering a same sex relationship after ending your heterosexual marriage, taking psychiatric medications as prescribed by your doctor, or being more religious than your ex do not make you an unfit parent, no matter how much your ex may complain. The courts only take away custody if the parents’ actions compromise the child’s safety. These are some reasons that parents have lost custody of their children:

  • Physical or sexual abuse – All allegations of child abuse will be investigated promptly, and if they are substantiated, the child will be removed from the home. Even if you are not the one who abused the child, you can lose custody if the abuse happened during your parenting time, because it is your responsibility to protect the child.

  • Neglect – The child’s health has suffered because of your failure to provide adequate care. The court might suspect neglect if a child has untreated dental problems or if an infant or toddler fails to grow because of inadequate nutrition.

  • Abandonment – If you have been out of contact with the child without explanation, this counts against you in determining child custody.

  • Poorly Controlled Mental Illness or Active Addiction – Seeking treatment for your addiction or mental illness makes you a better parent, not a worse one. If you have recently undergone inpatient treatment, you will have to show that your condition is stable for a while before you can have unsupervised parenting time.

What Happens When Both Parents Lose Custody?

If both parents lose custody, the court places the child with someone who can provide adequate care for him or her, often a grandparent or other relative. The placement is temporary, and all parties will have to work with the court to determine the best long-term situation for the child.

Iwanyshyn & Associates Helps Parents Re-Establish Custody

Even if you have a troubled history with your children and your ex, you still have rights as a parent. Contact Iwanyshyn & Associates in Greater Pittsburgh & Western PA for help getting custody after your children have been taken away. 🡺 412-419-3448