A mother may lose her custody battle if she:
- Violates a custody order.
- Subjects children to abuse or violence.
- Abuses drugs or alcohol.
- Is impacted by serious mental health issues.
- Neglects the child or is unwilling to provide proper care to the child.
- Falsely reports abuse by the other parent.
- Is a violent person.
- Is in prison.
- Exposes the child to pornography.
As per Utah’s child custody laws (Code Chapter 30-3), a mother is considered unfit to provide adequate care to the child, and therefore not qualified to get the child’s custody in the following circumstances:
1. Violation of a Custody Order
A court can do away with a mother’s custodial rights if she violates a custody order. The following violations are common:
- Denial of custody or visitation rights to the other parent.
- Holding the child longer than the prescribed time.
- Refusing to inform the other parent about the child’s whereabouts.
- Taking off with the child on a long, unauthorized trip.
Helpful Evidence: Proof of violation, witnesses, photographs, or any other applicable evidence.
2. Inflicting Abuse or Violence on the Child
Physically or psychologically hurting the child, harassing the child, or engaging in any acts or behavior that adversely impacts the child’s mental or physical health are reasons for a mother to lose child custody.
Helpful Evidence: Police report or medical evaluation of the child.
3. Substance Abuse
When a mother abuses drugs or alcohol and is unable to provide proper care to the child, or if she inflicts physical, psychological, or sexual abuse on the child in any way, the courts may find that her actions seriously harm the child’s well-being and that she is unfit to get custody of the child. Aside from taking away her custodial rights, the courts may also limit her visitation rights, or allow supervised visitation until the mother rehabilitates herself.
Helpful Evidence: Medical records or the mother’s history of drug abuse.
4. Mental Health Issues
If the mother’s mental health is such that it impacts her ability to provide adequate care to her child, she can lose custody. The court always takes the child’s best interests into account. If it finds that the mother’s mental health, even if she is under treatment, puts the child at risk or impacts the mother’s parenting adversely, it may deny custody to her.
Helpful Evidence: Medical records, History of abuse.
5. Neglecting the Child
The court expects a mother to provide requisite care to the child and provide him with essentials like shelter, clothing, nourishment, education, and other necessities. If the mother is inattentive or otherwise neglects the child, and her actions place the child’s physical, emotional, psychological, educational, or general welfare or his safety at risk, the court can take away her custodial rights.
Helpful Evidence: Proof of an untidy, starving, or suffering child, who has reached this state because of his mother’s actions.
6. False Reporting
If the mother falsely accuses the other parent of abuse, she can lose custody depending upon how serious the allegations are. For example, the mother feeds false stories to the child about the other parent (such as telling him that the other parent doesn’t love the child or is abusive).
Helpful Evidence: The other parent has to disprove the allegations.
7. A History of Violence
Custody can be denied if the mother is a violent person.
Helpful Evidence: Police reports.
If the mother is in prison for a felony or if she is serving a long sentence, it is obvious that she will not get the child’s custody.
Helpful Evidence: Jail records.
9. Exposure to Pornography
If the mother exposes the child to pornography, custody may be denied.
Helpful Evidence: Witnesses or video/photographic evidence.