Before addressing the topic of losing child custody, there’s something you should know. Even in extreme situations, you’ll likely have the right to — at the very least — visit with your children in a supervised setting with a court-approved person present to watch over the visit. That is, if you have consistently shown interest in visiting with them and if you have consistently supported your children emotionally and financially. With that being said, here are a few circumstances that could cause you to lose your child custody and/or visitation rights:

Abandonment: If a parent doesn’t show interest in being a part of a child’s life and if a parent fails to financially support the child, the court could revoke the parent’s parental rights and his or her legal status as a parent will be lost.

Substance abuse: A parent with substance abuse issues could lose his or her right to visit with and spend time with his or her children. This could result in a supervised visitation requirement, but it could also result in the loss of visitation rights.

Violating the terms of the child custody orders: A parent who violates any aspect of his or her child custody orders may face the risk of losing his or her custody or visitation rights under those orders.

Domestic violence and/or sexual abuse: Parents who have had trouble with sexual abuse or domestic violence in the past, may not have the right to spend time with their children in an unsupervised setting if they are permitted to spend time with their children at all.

If you believe that the other parent of your child is unfit to serve as a parent, the court might support you in this assertion. Make sure you address these concerns in a legally appropriate and respectful fashion during your child custody case.