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Why do some parents lose child custody?

There are a lot of misconceptions about child custody disputes. One is that the woman usually gets custody of the children. It's not always true, and as a Huffington Post article points out, dads are awarded custody of children about half the time.

The Post takes a look at why, and comes up with a list of things that mothers typically do wrong that may cost them child custody. Putting yourself in the shoes of one such mother, would you agree with these points? Here they are:

• Not being active in a child's activities and schedule. It may not look good in court if a parent doesn't take a child on play dates, doesn't know the name of his or her teachers and doesn't regularly attend school events, such as parent-teacher conferences.

• Showing a lack of control. Parents who regularly lose their temper or composure, particularly while in the courtroom, or in front of social workers or teachers, may be less likely to get custody.

• Not being the primary caretaker. Parents can ask themselves how involved they are in a child's life. The parent who is most involved in the child's basic needs, including reading, transportation, bathing and feeding, makes a stronger case for custody.

• Failing to address problems. If a parent is addicted to alcohol or drugs, that is a big red flag. Seeking treatment and taking it seriously is important. Judges take substance abuse very seriously.

• Badmouthing the other parent. Respecting the child's relationship with the other parent can be important, and judges may look upon it favorably.

Source: Huffington Post, "How to lose child custody," Jacqueline Harounian, Dec. 12, 2011

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