The worst thing in marriages is not your in-laws, contrary to the common belief, it’s when a marriage ends in a divorce. However, about 40 to 50% of married couples divorce and this leaves a high ratio of exploded families. At the heart of a divorce, there’s the difficult question of child custody. More often than not, the mother is entrusted with the children. However, more and more fathers are fighting for their rights to maintain a healthy relationship with their children. Going through a divorce is a stressful enough situation, especially as you might feel abandoned by the partner you once trusted. Thankfully, for half of the divorced parents, they can find comfort in the fact that they have kept a small family nucleus together and obtained child custody. However, imagine how you would feel if something happened that made you lose child custody. It would be devastating. That’s why you need to be especially cautious when you’ve got full responsibility for a child. Here are five terrible mistakes that can cost you child custody.

You’re in debts

For a lot of couples, bankruptcy and divorce can be connected, especially as you find yourself having to deal with everyday spending with only one income instead of two. If you file for bankruptcy, the court will take account of the necessary child support payment. Indeed, child support is a debt that is called a priority debt, therefore something that needs to be paid. In other words, if you can use the child support payment to continue to care for your child, there is no need for further legal interference. The primary legal concern is that you can still provide the best quality of life for your child. However, the court reviews your ability to provide for your children. If your debts mean that a child can’t be properly fed, schooled or even housed, then you will lose custody. Ultimately, after a divorce, you need more than ever to keep your daily spending under control. You can save a lot of money by being sensible and looking out for bargains.

You’ve got an addiction

If you’re juggling with several jobs, long hours and child custody, it can be difficult to keep a cool head. In fact, more often than not, people turn to hard substances as a form of comfort. It doesn’t take the stress away, but for a short moment, you can forget about it. Others turn to illegal substances in an attempt to cope with their busy schedule. Being up almost all night and working throughout the day can be soul-crushing and exhausting. So it’s easy to see how someone could become an addict in those circumstances. However, you need to look for healthier options to get you coming. Indeed, if you’re caught, you may be asked to go through child custody drug testing which might dramatically change your life. While the judge might sympathize with your story, you face losing child custody as a result.

You’ve turned your children against your partner

In the beginning, it might seem easy to tell your children that your ex-partner is a bad person. After all, in most divorce situations, what people want is to hurt their exes as much as they hurt themselves. Except that it is a terrible idea. In fact, turning your children against your partner is called parental alienation. It’s been gradually recognized as a harmful behavior both by the American and the European law. Regarded as a form of manipulation; some judges may go as far as taking away your child custody and right to contact the child.

You refuse to co-parent and take all decisions by yourself

Co-parenting is a subtle form of alienation in which you don’t manipulate the child against their other parent, but simply take your previous partner out of the parental equation. You interfere with the school or other child-related institutions to ensure that the staff doesn’t have contact with the other parent. You choose to take all decisions on your own and refuse to acknowledge the second parent. Depending on the gravity of the situation, a judge can make you lose child custody.

You’ve used a form of abuse against your children

Last, but not least, any form of abuse, physical, sexual or even emotional, will naturally cost you child custody. However, the judge will carefully review the situation. For instance, without indications of abusive behavior, judges will always look at other explanations for a child’s distress. In short, the other parent can’t remove child custody if your child got injured during a ski holiday with you.

Being a good parent is not easy. But being a caring and loving parent is the best way to maintain child custody. However, for the sake of your child, shared custody is often the best option.

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