How Can a Mother Lose Custody of Her Child?

How Can a Mother Lose Custody of Her Child Custody Lawyer Fresno CAMany still believe that the court has a “bias” that favors mothers in custody case. But the truth is, any custodial parent (mother or father) who engages in misconduct can lose custody of their child. The court rules in favor of the child’s best interest. Thus, if the mother of child is a custodial parent and engages in behavior that endangers a child’s well-being, the court may strip that mother of her custody rights.

So the real question isn’t “how can a mother lose custody of her child?” but more “how can any custodial parent lose their custody rights?” However, for the purposes of this article, we’ll stick to the theme of the mother losing her child’s custody. Below, we examine what types of misconduct can lead to lost custody, as well as how you can expose that misconduct to the court.

Top 5 Reasons Why Mothers Lose Custody

  1. Physical abuse against the child or father
  2. Emotional abuse against the child (this includes parental alienation)
  3. Child neglect
  4. Overt frustration with a father’s parenting time
  5. Violating a court order

Physical Abuse

A mother may lose custody if she engages in physical abuse against a child. Here is how you can prove that physical abuse exists:

  1. Report the physical abuse to law enforcement and have them take appropriate action.
  2. Report the abuse to social services, such as child protective services. They will open a case and investigate your allegations. Child protective services have the authority to remove children from physically abusive homes and give custody to the non-abusive parent temporarily.
  3. File a request for order with the court that details a mother’s abusive misconduct to the court. In this request you’ll usually ask the court for sole physical and legal custody, as well as ask for supervised visitation for the abusive mother.

California law requires reporters to report any cases of suspected abuse. If you’re aware or reasonably aware of your child’s mother’s abusive behavior, you must report her behavior. Failing to take proper action will only reflect poorly on you.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse comes in many different forms, but the most common types include the following:

  1. Verbal abuse from a mother to her child: such as badgering, belittling, or disparaging a child.
  2. Purposeful parental alienation: when a mother intentionally prevents a child from seeing the father.
  3. Withholding emotional support or love from the child: this usually harder to prove than other forms of emotional abuse.


No parent is perfect. Because of that, there is no standard of “perfect parenting” in the California Family Code. However, there is a big difference between making a mistake and consistently exercising poor judgement.

Child neglect can lead to a mother losing in child custody if she continuously makes decisions that endanger the general well-being of her child.

How to Take Custody of a Child Away from an Unfit Mother

Taking custody away from an unfit mother depends on whether a child custody order is in effect or not.

Steps for Parents Without a Child Custody Order

If you’re a father married to your child’s mother and have yet to file for divorce, you can decide whether the situation is severe enough that you can move forward with dissolving the marriage or petitioning for legal separation.

Regardless of whether you are married or not, you can take the following steps to obtain custody of your child:

  1. Document every instance of the mother’s misconduct, as well as make efforts to reach a resolution to stop the misconduct.
  2. If the mother continues her misconduct, then consult a family law attorney as soon as possible.
  3. If you decide to move forward with divorce or legal separation, then file a request for order asking the court for parenting time or custody.

Steps for Parents With a Custody Order

Here are your options if there is a custody order already in place:

  1. Talk to the mother, document her misconduct, and attempt to resolve the issue.
  2. File a contempt order against the mother to show she violated any court order.
  3. File a request for order asking the court for a modification in parenting time or custody order.

How Can a Mother Lose Custody of Her Child? Ask a Fresno Family Law Attorney

You child is worth the time and effort to protect them. If the mother of your child is engaging in reckless behavior that endangers your child, it’s important to see the intervention of the court. Consult an experienced Fresno child custody attorney at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today to learn more.

How Does Adultery Affect a Divorce in California?

How Does Adultery Affect a Divorce Divorce Lawyer Fresno CASince California is a no-fault state, does that mean that adultery does not affect divorce? Unfortunately, that is a common misconception. Below, we discuss what adultery actually means in context of a family law case, and how adultery affects a divorce.

What Is Adultery in the Context of a Divorce Case?

Adultery (also called cheating or infidelity) has different meanings to many different people. For instance, some may believe that having an intimate emotional attachment to someone outside a marriage is considered cheating. Others may define adultery as having sexual intercourse with someone other than their spouse.

For the purpose of this article, we will discuss adultery as as an extramarital relationship that is sexual or intimate in nature. This definition includes one-on-one extra martial relationships, dating relationships with more than one person, and paid sexual services.

How Does Adultery Affect a Spouse’s Trust?

Trust is essential for long-term relationships. Once that trust is broken, it is very difficult to regain. Adultery typically impacts a spouse’s trust significantly. In fact, it is one of the most common reasons couples break up.

Once a person loses their trust in their spouse, that sentiment can ripple through the entire divorce process. A person may feel that if their spouse could conceal their cheating, what else could they be hiding? This could make solving other issues in the divorce very complicated.

In addition, adultery also significantly impacts the emotional aspect of divorce. This can often result in poor judgement and lashing out in ways a person may not normally. Both will only further complicate the divorce process.

An experienced divorce attorney understands how these complex emotions can impact decision-making in a divorce.

How Does Adultery Affect Both Spouse’s Fiduciary Duties?

You may be surprised to learn that California law does consider both spouse’s fiduciary duties to one another. In addition, the law also requires a high duty of fair dealing and good faith.

A Hypothetical Situation

To understand how adultery affects both spouse’s fiduciary duties, let’s consider the following example:

A husband commits adultery with one extramarital relationship over the course of several years. The wife suspects the relationship, but can never fully prove it. Eventually, she gathers enough evidence to prove it, so she files for divorce.

With the above example, we want to know the following:

  1. How long did the adultery last? In this case, let’s say for three years.
  2. How much money was spent on the extra marital relationship? For our example, let’s say the husband spent about $30,000 per year. So for three years that would amount to $90,000 in total. The husband’s annual income is $400,000, and his wife is a homemaker.

Did the Husband Breach His Fiduciary Duty?

Since each spouse is a fiduciary to one another, does money spent on an extra marital affair help the community?

Logically, the answer is no. However, did that husband breach his fiduciary duty to his wife? Maybe.

These types of issues are not black and white. No section in California Family Code states that a spouse guilty of adultery must pay their spouse 50% of the money they spent on an affair. Yet, because of both spouse’s fiduciary duty, when community funds are spent, one can argue that adultery can and should lead to reimbursement from one spouse to the other.

How Does Adultery Affect a Divorce When Child Custody Is Involved?

Just because one parent commits adultery does not mean they are unfit to parent children. Most often, adultery does not demonstrate a person’s ability to parent.

However, things are more complicated if the adulterous parent engaged in prostitution or other illegal activities. Committing such acts could potentially expose children to dangerous individuals or situations. If such acts were committed, then the court should take them into consideration when determining child custody.

Speak to an Experienced Fresno Divorce Lawyer

How does adultery affect a divorce? In many ways — whether the fallout is from emotional instability, a breach in fiduciary duty, or potential exposure of children to illegal activity. If you’re going through a divorce that involves adultery, we can provide compassionate and knowledgeable counsel. Consult a Fresno divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.

Proving Alcoholism in Custody Cases

Proving Alcoholism in Custody Cases Child Custody Lawyer Fresno CAAlcoholism can turn even the most good-natured person into an unpredictable danger. Because of this, the court is very uncomfortable assigning any child custody rights to an alcoholic parent, including both physical and legal custody. Doing so could potentially jeopardize a child’s well-being, which the court would never do willingly. Even if the alcoholic parent is not physically threatening or emotionally abusive, an alcohol addiction will more than likely disrupt their parenting responsibilities.

If you have children and are currently divorcing an alcoholic spouse, you may have questions about proving alcoholism in custody cases. Unfortunately, your word is not enough to effectively convince a judge. This is especially true when it comes to something as important as a custody order. In order to maximize the effectiveness your argument, you must provide real-world evidence of your spouse’s alcohol abuse.

To learn more about proving alcoholism in custody cases, speak to a Fresno family law attorney at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.

3 Key Examples of Evidence of Alcoholism

Some examples of proof of alcoholism that you can use to effectively argue your case in court include the following:

  • Court-mandated treatments. Was your spouse ever ordered by the court to participate in some form of treatment for alcoholism? No matter the reason the court mandated such treatments, you can use this order to help prove your case for your spouse’s addiction to alcohol. Even if your spouse participated in and complete the treatments, you can remind the court that expert professionals agree that alcoholism is rarely ever cured.
  • DUI arrests. A powerful tool that you can use to help prove your case against your spouse is a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, arrest, or conviction. Furthermore, other types of alcohol-related arrests are also useful, such as public intoxication. If your spouse expunges or seals their past criminal record in order to hide a DUI arrest, a family law attorney can help you reveal the arrest to the court.
  • Medical records. Was your spouse ever admitted to the hospital or emergency care for alcohol-related injuries or conditions? Then you can use that record to help effectively argue your case in court. If your spouse cannot even take care of themselves, then how can they also take care of a child?

Even if you don’t have the evidence listed above, there other ways proving alcoholism in custody cases.

How to Prove a Spouse’s Alcohol Abuse

Request an EtG Alcohol Hair Test

Whenever alcohol gets consumed, a lasting trace of ethyl alcohol is left in the hair. This is known as EtG, or ethyl glucoronide. Your Fresno divorce attorney can request your spouse to undergo an EtG alcohol hair test. This hair test will analyze for EtG, which means the consumption of alcohol is present. Since the test is conducted in a state lab with powerful equipment, it is considered reliable and accurate. The test will show whether the person is a heavy or light drinker.

Establish Drinking Patterns

In order to consume alcohol, your spouse would probably have to purchase it fairly regularly. Credit card statements do not lie. Your family law attorney can help establish a pattern of regularly buying alcohol through your spouse’s credit card or bank statements. Specifically, your attorney will determine how much money your spouse spends on alcohol per week or month. However, keep in mind that this won’t give the judge the full picture. It will only establish that a pattern of drinking is present.

Obtain Witness Testimony

Alcoholism is hard to hide. Chances are if your spouse was regularly intoxicated, there are other witnesses to help back up your claim. This may include other family members or friends, neighbors, or your spouse’s co-workers. Or, if your spouse frequented a local bar, you may even consider using the bartender as a witness.

Get Help Proving Alcoholism in Custody Cases

If your spouse is an alcoholic and you want to protect your child from the unpredictable nature of their disease, an experienced Fresno child custody attorney can help. We have experience in proving alcoholism in custody cases. To learn more about how we assist you in protecting yourself and your child, contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks today.

How Does Child Support Work With 50/50 Custody?

How Does Child Support Work With 50/50 Custody, Fresno CADivorce is often a long and complex process. This is especially true when children are in the picture. In California, there are two major issues you need to address regarding children and divorce: 1) child custody, and 2) child support.

How does child support work with 50/50 custody? Do parents with joint custody still need to pay child support? At the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks, we can help you understand how custody and support issues work in California. Contact us today to learn more.

Understanding the Different Types of Custody

First, it’s important to understand the different types of custody in California: legal custody and physical custody. Both types of custody can be held solely by one parent, jointly between both parents, or a mixture of both.

Legal custody of a child means that a parent has the right to make major life decisions on the child’s behalf. This can include questions concerning the child’s education, religious practice or health care.

Physical custody allows a parent the right to physically take care of the child. If only one parent gets awarded physical custody, then that parent holds sole responsibility in feeding and sheltering the child. However, if both parents share joint physical custody, then they both share in that responsibility. For instance, the child’s time may be split between both parents, one on the weekend and one during the week. The parent with weekday custody must provide for the child during the week, and the parent with weekend custody must provide during the weekend.

The Court May Still Order Child Support Where There Is Joint Custody

As stated before, both parents must contribute to their child’s welfare in joint physical custody cases. Since this responsibility is often shared equally, how does child support work with 50/50 custody? Because of the financial burden child support imposes, is it fair for one parent to pay the other even when custody is shared jointly?

In short, yes, the court can still award child support payments during joint custody cases. This fact is even more true in situations where one parent has a much lower income than the other parent. Another factor that can lead to child support in 50/50 custody cases is the length of time one parent spends caring for the child. For instance, if one parent cares for the child during the week, that’s a total of five days, compared to two days over the weekend. That means one parent must spend more resources to care for the child.

What Factors Will the Court Consider?

If the court determines child support must be paid, it will employ a formula that incorporates a variety of actors. Some of these factors can include the following:

  • Income or income potential of both parents (how much each parent actually makes)
  • The number of children shared between both parents
  • Whether sole or joint custody is at play
  • The length of time both parents spend caring for the child
  • Both parents tax filing status
  • (If applicable) any support received by a parent from a previous relationship
  • Costs of health insurance
  • Contributions to retirement and/or union dues
  • Costs shared by both parents for actually raising the child (e.g. health insurance or education)
  • Any other relevant factors that need addressing

Thus, in joint custody situations, the amount of time each parent spends taking care of the child will affect child support payments. If one parent takes care of the child for five days of the week, then they would need to pay less support than someone taking care of a child for two days a week. Furthermore, if a single parent holds sole custody, then the other parent will more than likely need to pay child support.

For Questions About Child Custody and Support Issues

Were you and your ex spouse awarded joint custody? Are you wondering how does child support work with 50/50 custody? Since child support often requires large monthly payments that can impact you and your child, it’s important for both parties to be able to work towards an agreement or court order that honors your needs. A Fresno divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks can help. Contact us today.