Imagine you discover that the other parent has abandoned your child, even though he or she has full physical custody. In other words, the other parent is the custodial parent, meaning the child lives with the other parent, and you’re the noncustodial parent who only has visitation rights.
The problem is, you’ve just discovered that the other parent has left your child to live with a friend. Is it possible to revoke the other parent’s custodial rights and gain physical custody rights for yourself?
For example, the revocation of the other parent’s parental rights might happen in the following circumstances:
Sentencing to prison: If the custodial parent is convicted to spend time in prison, he or she will not be able to care for the children. A family court judge, in this case, would lean on awarding the other, noncustodial parent with full physical custody of the child or children. However, the court would need to ensure that this was in the best interest of the child and that the noncustodial parent is fit to serve as primary caretaker.
Abandonment of the child: If the custodial parent abandons the child, a judge will likely be willing to change the child custody arrangements. For example, if the parent leaves the young child alone for long periods of time without care, a judge may deem this to be abandonment. Or, if the parent often leaves the child with friends or other relatives, a judge may decide to award full custody to the noncustodial parent so that the child can live with and be cared for by that parent exclusively.
Parents who are seeking a modification to their child custody orders need to fully understand their unique situations and existing child custody decrees. By analyzing your situation from a legal perspective, with a full understanding of state family law, the most appropriate legal strategy to seek a modification and obtain physical custody of your children will be revealed.