Child Abuse: Will a Custodial Parent Lose Custody Rights?

A gravel with colorful child custody word

Child abuse does not have to be severe for a custodial parent to lose his or her custody rights. When it comes to family law, any behavior or activity of a parent that endangers the emotional and physical well-being of the child is deemed as a form of abuse.

Will you get custody if the custodial parent is abusing your child?

Not necessarily. Yes, your ex-spouse would probably lose his or her status as the custodial parent, but you also stand to lose your visitation or parenting time rights if the court finds out that you knew about the abuse in the first place and didn’t do anything to prevent it, warns an experienced child custody attorney in Colorado Springs.


If there are allegations of child abuse by the custodial parent, Child Protective Services will step in and might place your child with relatives or foster care. They’ll do an investigation on the custodial parent, and if the court determines that he or she might abuse your child in any way in the future, it will terminate your ex’s parental rights.

Then they’ll investigate you to determine when and how you learned about the abuse. If the court determines that you could’ve stopped it immediately, but failed to do so, you might also lose some of your parental rights and won’t get custody. You need to work with a family law attorney to figure out how to approach the situation.

The bottom line

The court takes all kinds of child abuse very seriously because children can’t properly protect themselves. And although your parental rights are constitutionally and fundamentally protected, the main concern of the court is the best interest of your child. So the minute you become aware or suspect that your ex, the custodial parent, is abusing your child in any way, get help as soon as possible.