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Could I Lose Custody If I Live With Someone During the Separation?

Most parents want to remain in their children’s lives even if they are not with the other parent anymore. There are many factors that can come into play when determining if a parent is allowed to have custody of a child. While living with another person during a separation could influence a judge’s decision, it won’t necessarily cause you to lose custody on its own.

The Child’s Best Interest Is the Top Priority

When a judge decides who should have custody of a child, he or she will take the child’s best interest into account. If you son or daughter is old enough, he or she will be allowed to have some input into the matter. However, even if a child wants to live with you, state law or the best judgment of the court could overrule that desire.

For example, if the person who you live with has a drug problem or a history of domestic violence, that could put your kid in harm’s way. Furthermore, if your new partner is prone to making sexually suggestive comments or otherwise acting inappropriately around children, that could also go against you in a custody matter.

Where Are You Living?

If you move to another city or state, it may put considerable distance between yourself and the child’s other parent. It could also put considerable distance between the child and his or her friends and other social ties. As a child should experience maximum stability during a parental separation, uprooting your son or daughter could be seen as not meeting the child’s best interest.

There is a good chance that the child’s other parent will alert the court regarding your intended move as well. Even if you don’t lose custody completely, a restraining order or some other compromise solution may need to be reached. This could result in your parental rights being limited until a more comprehensive solution can be created.

Do You Live in Adequate Housing?

In addition to where in the state or country you are living, a court will also want to take a look at the condition of your home or apartment. If you live in a neighborhood that is known for crime or other poor living conditions, that could lead to losing custody of a child. The same is true if you are living in a home or apartment that doesn’t have heat, hot water or other essentials.

Can You Provide for the Child’s Basic Needs?

You should be able to provide your child with food, clothing and other essentials if you want to maintain custody. If you choose to spend money to pay your partner’s bills before spending money to feed and clothe your children, don’t expect to keep custody of your kids. Ideally, you will be able to pay for a child’s health insurance or at least split the cost with the child’s other parent if you want to retain physical or legal custody.

What Is Your Current Mental State?

Moving in with another person could show poor judgement depending on how long you and the child’s other parent have been separated. Deciding to live with someone who is a danger to the children could also show signs of poor judgment. At the very least, it may be necessary to meet with a mental health professional to help a judge decide if you deserve custody or not.

What Type of Custody Are You Seeking?

There are two main types of custody that a parent can have. Legal custody means that you can make decisions about how a child is educated or what type of medical treatment he or she should have. Physical custody means that your son or daughter lives with you most of the time. It is possible that you will be given sole or joint legal custody without receiving physical custody.

It is also possible that you share physical custody and don’t get legal custody of the child. The exact arrangement could be decided in court or as part of a parenting plan created by yourself and the child’s other parent.

Not Having Custody Doesn’t Mean You’re a Bad Parent

If you do lose custody of your children, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t a good parent or that you can’t have a role in your child’s life. It simply means that it’s easier for the other parent to be the primary caretaker at the moment. It is also important to point out that custody rulings can be modified as events transpire. Therefore, you could regain custody by moving closer to your child or breaking up with a partner who potentially poses a danger to the children.

A child custody ruling depends on a variety of factors deemed relevant under state law. If you want to retain custody of your children, it may be best to live on your own or take other steps to put your kid’s interests first. An attorney may be able to help you obtain a favorable outcome in a child custody case.