How can you even consider this move? Ask a lawyer - it's free! That got old, fast. Show 12 more Show 12 less . The default is joint legal and joint physical. I wasn’t ashamed. One study from 1995—No-Woman’s Land: The Story of Non-Custodial Mother’s—explains that: “Women without custody of their children are positioned as the ‘other’ to the norm of the custodial mother. Yet another non-custodial mother reveals her deep regret over leaving her son with his father. After all, if nothing happened, why would a mother choose to give up custody of her child? This custodial/non-custodial dichotomy illustrates two central tenets within psychology. At first, I spoke of our arrangement freely. And there was this, the thought that kept ricocheting through my mind: What kind of mother loses custody of her child? These stories are critical to starting a dialogue about non-custodial mothers. I love to talk about my daughter — about the funny things she says, the plans we have for her summer visitation, the pictures she draws for me. So long as wives are doing more of this care, mothers of children born in wedlock are more likely to be awarded custody. I am intentionally dragging my shame into the light so others know they aren’t alone. At first, I spoke of our arrangement freely. When a person feels the other parent is more capable of properly raising the children, they make a courageous, loving and selfless decision to allow the most qualified person to have primary responsibility to raise the children. This is the simple but very, very loaded question that I am asked when someone finds out that I don’t have primary custody of my daughter. Letting Go: When Alienated Parents Give Up When a parent endures parental alienation, various emotions materialize. However, if you're a father trying to win child custody, you may wonder if your gender could impact your case, especially given the past practice of mothers seemingly having a measurable advantage in family courts across the nation.Whether you're a single father heading to the court for the first time, or you're appealing an … ... deliberate and painstaking process, to give my ex-husband essentially full custody of one of my … When there is a dispute over child custody, the courts must determine whether to make one parent the primary custodian, or whether the parents will share their duties equally, as in the case of joint physical or joint legal custody; this is true for divorcing couples, as well as unmarried parents, when there is a dispute over child custody. These studies are admittedly dated, but they remain important because, to this day, they remain the most comprehensive research done on societal beliefs about non-custodial mothers. According to the 2013 United States Census, 13.4 million parents are deemed “custodial” and, of those, 1 in every 6 (17.5%) are fathers. While I will no longer justify my decision to anyone, I will gladly answer questions that are born out of curiosity and a desire to expand your perspective. Mothers and fathers are on legal standing until one or the other gives up or is denied full custody rights. They range from the selfish (wanting to have the financial flexibility to pursue a career that would set me up for a better life and needing time to breathe after a chaotic five years of a tumultuous marriage, an unplanned child, and a messy divorce) to the selfless (wanting to spare my daughter the stress of growing up with a single mom who was struggling to make ends meet). It was unfraught and I knew it was the right thing to do for both of us. My choice was born out of the clarity that as long as my daughter was reliant on me and only me, I’d never be able to get ahead in my career or regain a hold on my health and happiness. It was the most wrenching decision of my life, but one that I felt I had to make. This, according to the Pew Research Center, is up from 300,000 in 1960. She also wrote a later article defending her choice, after receiving pushback from the masses of keyboard warriors. They illuminate just how varied each family’s circumstance is and shows that there is no black and white reason for a mother not having custody. As the number of mothers without custody grows, so will the reasons why. The rest of the time, I #write for human hearts. You would need to consult a copy of the custody order to ascertain when your child or children can be taken by the other parent. Still others are the unfortunate victims of a faulty court system. My ex-husband has bottomless pockets and had ground me down financially in a custody battle. The general consensus is that they are the most selfish women on the planet and/or don’t love their children. I investigated violent crimes that arose during exchanges when one parent refused to give back the child and the other parent tried to forcibly take the child back. That fear can then manifest in many different ways, and on any part of the spectrum of fight or flight response. However, those possibilities existing in no way make them the only reasons that a mother may be non-custodial; thinking in absolutes is reductive, dangerous, and leaves no room for very complicated and nuanced situations to be addressed objectively. It is, as I said, a question loaded with a lifetime of gender roles, unforgiving standards that mothers are held to, and a belief that a woman’s role is, primarily, to be a mother. And, yes, there may be some women who either lost custody or gave it up because they were unfit or “selfish.” (A subjective condemnation, at best.) It’s so far outside most people’s realm of comprehension that they are horrified, confused, angered, or some combination of all three. In families where it’s the mother, she will be the one who is likely not to get custody. As the number of mothers without custody grows, so will the reasons why. I had a deep conviction that the choice I made for myself and my daughter was a good one. "Irv" seemed smarmy and bored and appeared distracted during our interviews. Although one parent may have primary physical custody, both parents typically share joint legal custody. Most states recognize two types of custody. That means about 2.5 million households are run by single fathers, many of which have a non-custodial counterpart. Will you believe I abandoned you there to “live a carefree life” the way he thinks I did? That leaves non-custodial mothers like myself with one of two labels: selfish or unfit. Some stereotypes die harder than others. These rights include the right to custody of their child, the right to expect obedience and cooperation from the child, the rights to any earnings that the child might make, and the right to sue anyone who is guilt… While I will no longer justify my decision to anyone, I will gladly answer questions that are born out of curiosity and a desire to expand your perspective. Once I began to feel ashamed of my decision, I started to feel like an outlier, like I had made a choice so unthinkable that I needed to keep it hidden. I stopped telling people. Regardless, if a mother gives up full custody of her children, she loses her right to make decisions regarding her child. People want to know; they ask me again and again and again: What happened? The lawyer was a joke (only their for the money). I love to talk about my daughter — about the funny things she says, the plans we have for her summer visitation, the pictures she draws for me. I was spent psychologically and worried that even if I did have the financial means to keep fighting, I would lose the emotional stamina to care for my children (my ex did not try to get custody of my daughter, of whom I have primary custody).”. This, according to the Pew Research Center, is up from 300,000 in 1960. But that does not automatically make the father unfit to assume the role of the primary caregiver of the child after the divorce. Will you believe I abandoned you there to “live a carefree life” the way he thinks I did? Once I began to feel ashamed of my decision, I started to feel like an outlier, like I had made a choice so unthinkable that I needed to keep it hidden. Being the primary caretaker of children is a substantial factor in determining child custody–as it should be. This, coupled with a steadfast cultural depiction of any mother who doesn’t fit into prescribed norms as unfit or selfish, means that mothers without custody of their children are both misrepresented and underrepresented. On the other hand, a number of rejected parents evolve into dedicated empowered advocates, but just as many are depleted both physically and financially. Still others are the unfortunate victims of a faulty court system. Fathers are less involved in their children's care during the marriage. In The Unfortunate Event That You Do Lose Custody, Do Not Give Up. For some, like me, it is a choice. The primary goal in any custody arrangement is to meet the needs of the children, so it makes sense that if there is any issue pertaining to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect, that parent will not be left alone with the kids. When determining the mother’s rights to child custody, the court will first consider whether or not the child was born out of wedlock. A 2008 Kansas City University study — Non-custodial Mothers: Thematic Trends and — Future Directions — explores the complicated societal condemning of mothers who contradict, challenge, or defy the “right” kind of mothers: “The non-custodial mother is an anomaly. First, the norm operates as a standard against which ‘others’ are measured. Exactly. First, the norm operates as a standard against which ‘others’ are measured. Are you wondering if you can have joint custody when the mother of your child has primary physical custody? This is the simple but very, very loaded question that I am asked when someone finds out that I don’t have primary custody of my daughter. In her poem, “Ode to My Bitch Face,” Olivia Gatwood says, “we think we’re supposed to feel it, we’re told to feel it, about the way that we live, and act, and walk, and speak, and dress, and are. When you become a mother you give up certain things. Custody issues typically come up during the course of a divorce, but that isn't the case in all circumstances. The meaning of this is complicated if you don’t know your state’s child custody laws. And then we feel it because someone else told us to. Reply. After all, if nothing happened, why would a mother choose to give up custody of her child? In an ideal scenario, a mother and father would come to an agreement together, without battling the matter out in court. A mother would turn down an opportunity for majority custody of children for the same reasons a father might reject primary custody. For others, it is out of necessity. In addition to that, a judge may argue that the mother should be given primary or sole physical custody rights if she was the primary caregiver of the children prior to the dissolution of marriage. No, not really. But when a mother releases custody, she is often judged harshly. For others, it is out of necessity. In such a heartbreaking scenario, … Will you understand every night, every minute of every day, I wanted you with me but didn’t want to uproot you from the only home you ever knew? That leaves non-custodial mothers like myself with one of two labels: selfish or unfit. If the child was indeed born out of wedlock, establishing parental rights can make the … If you already have custody orders, you'll want to look up parental interference laws for the state where your ex resides or is holding your child. It’s not an organic feeling.”. And as we shift into a culture where being a single father is applauded, we must also open our minds to the idea that a single father household is not always the result of an unfit or flighty mother. The primary goal of Texas custody laws is to provide the best environment possible for the child. "Just give Luca's dad what he wants," he advised. This originally appeared on The Establishment. Any combination may work if the court finds it is in the best interest of the children. For all the equality movements we have had in America, this is still an area that is truly lacking. This can occur if both society and family courts begin to move away from antiquated narratives and become open to the idea that there are many ways to be a mother. Although in the past decade there has been an increase in equal residential custody, mothers are still much more likely to be awarded primary residential care. These stories are critical to starting a dialogue about non-custodial mothers. Child custody may be determined as part of a court battle, an amicable divorce settlement , or it may be determined by agreement or court battle by two parents who were never married. Few people give it a second thought when fathers give up parental rights. a parent that has chosen the role of bringing up children rather than earning income has a difficult job and this can be compounded when … Custody battles usually present a challenge for all parties involved. ... it’s impossible to say whether 17.5% is fair versus unfair to fathers or unfair to mothers. (And many ways to be a good one.). However, when a family court judge does have to step in and decide which parent to award primary physical custody to, preference is usually given to the one who is the … The parent-child relationship, financial situations, who the primary caretaker of the child is, and other issues are examined by the judge when … The trend of single father households is growing, which means that being a non-custodial mother is, too. dawn1221 is offline Quote … As has been made evident by much of the recent political activity in the U.S., when people aren’t familiar with something — when it doesn’t fit into their limited worldview — they tend to fear it. They illuminate just how varied each family’s circumstance is and shows that there is no black and white reason for a mother not having custody. I didn’t want you to see me suffer, cry, and worry about where I would be, where I would stay.”. If it came up, I followed my “admission” with a long list of justifications that, I hoped, would keep people from slinging their premature judgment in my face. My reasons for making the choice that I did are numerous and complicated. It was unfraught and I knew it was the right thing to do for both of us. It was the most wrenching decision of my life, but one that I felt I had to make. It took me two full years to be able to admit — even to myself — that part of my choice to become a non-custodial mother was for me, so that I could regain control of my life and create a better situation for myself. However, those possibilities existing in no way make them the only reasons that a mother may be non-custodial; thinking in absolutes is reductive, dangerous, and leaves no room for very complicated and nuanced situations to be addressed objectively. Some parents may ask, when do I let… ... Another option is the … I didn’t feel guilty. It took me two full years to be able to admit — even to myself — that part of my choice to become a non-custodial mother was for me, so that I could regain control of my life and create a better situation for myself. One woman, Pauline Gaines, tells the Huffington Post why she’s glad she did, saying, “having me ‘out of the picture’ has enabled [my son] to have a more balanced perspective. MaaHoo Studio/Stocksy. Your User Agreement here at MDC, read it and make it your friend and read the FAQ to answer all the questions of the (MDC) world. What I, and many other non-custodial mothers ask, is that you take the time to understand our unique situations. It is, as I said, a question loaded with a lifetime of gender roles, unforgiving standards that mothers are held to, and a belief that a woman’s role is, primarily, to be a mother. Some states actually use the term \"primary caregiver\"; Since the 1970s, courts have been rewriting custody determination standards in gender-neutral language. Shortly after, she agreed to give up physical custody. Most of us have been taught, either directly or contingently, that mothers are and should be the primary caretakers. Basic parental rights apply equally to both mothers and fathers and remain with each parent whether they are married or single unless a parent surrenders these rights or does something that causes parental rights to be revoked. (And many ways to be a good one.). She also wrote a later article defending her choice, after receiving pushback from the masses of keyboard warriors. My choice was born out of the clarity that as long as my daughter was reliant on me and only me, I’d never be able to get ahead in my career or regain a hold on my health and happiness. Mothers and fathers who are splitting up may both seek and be awarded physical custody of their child. After all, if nothing happened, why would a mother choose to give up custody of her child? Conventional wisdom asks you to remain starkly attached to the traditional gender biased roles of parenting. This inability to acknowledge that absolutes — “mothers who do not choose their child are bad mothers” — are by and large useless, and belies a powerful gender bias that still permeates nearly every aspect of our society. It wasn’t until I was met with such visceral reactions that I began to feel as though I should feel ashamed, In her poem, “Ode to My Bitch Face,” Olivia Gatwood says, “we think we’re supposed to feel it, we’re told to feel it, about the way that we live, and act, and walk, and speak, and dress, and are. If I want to give up my joint custody to the child's father for sole custody, ... support Child support and extracurricular expenses Visitation rights in child custody agreements Father's rights in child custody Mother's rights in child custody Family law. Section 8, Point 2 of the same part of the Statutes says, “Preference must not be given to either parent for the sole reason that the parent is the mother or father of the child.” Clarification of Sole, Primary, and Joint Custody ... Luca's scorn, I knew he needed me. I didn’t feel guilty. This can occur if both society and family courts begin to move away from antiquated narratives and become open to the idea that there are many ways to be a mother. Exposing shame and inviting conversation around it will help to destroy false assumptions and create a safe space for mothers, both custodial and non. I began looking for other women like me and, while being a non-custodial mother may seem like an anomaly, it’s more common than I thought. That being said, I will no longer shroud my reasons for being non-custodial in a false sense of selflessness. In most states, a parent who willingly violates custody orders may be found guilty of a felony. If it came up, I followed my “admission” with a long list of justifications that, I hoped, would keep people from slinging their premature judgment in my face. Then, when they find out that my non-custodial status came about because I chose to not be with my daughter every day — and not as a result of addiction, abuse, or neglect — the situation becomes even harder for them to grasp. One study from 1995—No-Woman’s Land: The Story of Non-Custodial Mother’s—explains that: “Women without custody of their children are positioned as the ‘other’ to the norm of the custodial mother. Not being able to do that because of other people’s misguided assumptions about why she doesn’t live with me was painful.