What you need to know about child custody before the divorce

Laura Mitcheltree - posted on 03/25/2014 ( 9 moms have responded )

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Women are losing custody of their children in greater numbers today than at any time in American history since the 1920s.
Thousands of fit and loving mothers are being relegated to seeing their children only during court ordered visitation schedules, and having their wages garnished for child support to their ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends.
Male conservatives who wish to restrict women's reproductive rights and shame them into unwanted pregnancies, are suddenly very liberal and all for equal treatment of women when it comes to family court decided child custody. In other words, men want judges to consider mothers and fathers on completely equal footing when deciding who the child will stay with on week nights, and who will pay child support.

But if the case gets ugly, fathers' rights attorneys are taking great advantage of the discriminatory views commonly held by older judges who are overwhelmingly white and male:
" Your Honor she is a slut." (And slut=bad Mom.)
" Your Honor she is crazy." Post-partum depression or treatment with meds for any mental illness is being used against women with success.

Women are also more commonly in nursing or other professions with irregular or night shifts. So it is common for the father's attorney to point to his office job and successfully argue that his home life and schedule are better for the child.

American tradition has consistently prodded women to take his name and go where his job and family are located, instead of staying in her hometown. So many divorcing women find themselves away from their hometowns, away from their support base and family, and living near the father's family. This puts Moms at a distinct disadvantage because once the child is born, mothers are no longer allowed to move the child.

While many well meaning women and second wives fight for fathers' rights, and it certainly did need reform, no one seems to be talking about the very real consequences for mothers, and the emotional toll that becoming a non-custodial mother takes on women. This is largely because there is a very negative social stigma against Moms who don't have custody, with people commonly saying " Moms have to be a drug addict or criminal to lose their kids."
No longer is there any tender years doctrine or consideration for nursing, so even Moms of very young children and babies are losing custody at alarming rates, which increases psychological and even physical ramifications.

Women who leave the marital home are commonly prevented from taking their children, which makes women in abusive marriages and relationships even more likely to end up losing primary physical custody of their children. A woman fleeing abuse will be encouraged by police and advocates to leave the home, and assured that custody will be worked out in civil court later on. What they are not telling her is, letting the father have temporary custody with the kids at the home while she is out on her own, will likely result in her losing custody.
Because being female is more expensive and women make less than men, we are also at a clear disadvantage in retaining skilled attorneys, and being able to afford housing in the same school district where the marital home is.

What you can do:

Take a hard look around before getting or while pregnant. Is this where you want to live even if your marriage/relationship fails? Remember, it's a 50/50 shot.
Don't follow your man around the country, settling where his career prospects are best while ignoring your own prospects. Be very cautious before moving close to his family and friends, if you are leaving everyone you know far behind.
Remember, if he is showing true colors that are abusive or you are believing you want out, you CAN pack your bags and move away while pregnant, even if legally married. He is NOT legally able to stop you from leaving, getting on a plane, etc. and then YOU are deciding where your child's home will be, and where the court venue will be. Once you give birth, that door closes.

Moms need to plan for a separation carefully, making sure to stay within their child's school district and causing the child as little changes as possible if you are the one moving out. You need to be able to show a stable environment, where your child's friends and activities remain intact.
Even if you think the divorce won't drag on or get nasty, make sure you have money for an attorney anyway.
Stay in the home if at all possible. If your safety is at stake, stand your ground and get an EPO/DVO that forces him to leave and have no contact with you.
Get a separation order with visitation clearly spelled out. If you don't, remember, he can refuse to give the child back, and even move with the child, and there won't be anything you can do about it. The police will ask for the court order. If there isn't one, there's nothing they can do.

Just being aware that the playing field has changed and that the rules are different is an important step to make sure that mothers who give birth and love their children aren't suddenly devastated by a loss of custody, and are able to remain in their children's lives.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Jodi - posted on 03/25/2014

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"Thousands of fit and loving mothers are being relegated to seeing their children only during court ordered visitation schedules, and having their wages garnished for child support to their ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends."

And yet, apparently it is okay that hundreds of thousands of fit and loving fathers are being relegated to seeing their children only during court ordered visitation schedules and having their wages garnished for child support to their ex-wives and ex-girlfriends.

Just saying.

Keyla87 - posted on 10/05/2014

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This post reeks of future babymama drama lol and "woe" me I'm such a victim.

On a serious note:

Do you know what the stats are with regards to men, especially UNMARRIED men, having/getting custody?
Where do the kids fit in your equation?

Actually, I can't go on. You have managed to single-handedly create a "versus" out of what should be a "cooperative" and "on-going" relationship.... There don't need to be a war! ✌️

One last thing though: Instead of perpetrating this air of victimhood and fighting, hiw about we teach women to be responsible with our decisions to have babies eith, seemingly, whoever? After all, we dominate our bodies and the baby-making decision can only be finalized with OUR say-so....

Ev - posted on 03/30/2014

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Laura--I am speaking from experience. I am a NON-CUSTODIAL MOTHER. I get to be with my kids on the schedule and even some extra. I do not work odd hour shifts like you suggested. I work M-F bankers hours. I have weekends and nights off. I am also going to school. I CHOSE to let my kids live with their father because he had resources I did not to fight longer custody battles. I also made the choice because I did not want my then 12 and 5 year old children to go through sheer torture of wondering where they would be in the next few months. I did it because they suffer more in all this than the adults.

As for young women actually any woman who gets into a situation where she needs out she can get help. Just because the guy is demanding custody does not mean he gets it. He is angry because she is leaving him. Also they have to prove paternity in court and the judge sets up who gets the kids. I have a friend that nursed her youngest two and when the youngest came they got the divorce and she got the kids and he was not allowed to take the baby for over nights until the age of two because of nursing. And no, she is not rich by any means. She just had the situation in her favor because the father did not really want the other two kids at all. He wanted her to have an abortion because he did not want more kids.

Ev - posted on 03/25/2014

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"Women are losing custody of their children in greater numbers today." I have to disagree with this. Its not that mothers are loosing their kids. Not all cases are a loss for the mother. Sometimes the mother has to allow the kids to live with the father for all sorts of reasons be it health, finances, or other issues beyond control at the time.

As far as being "regulated" to see the children again I disagree....a lot of women once again make this choice FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF THEIR KIDS!

Of course the mother will pay child support; it is the obligation of a parent to make sure the child has everything they need which includes that support to help maintain things for the sake of said kids.




"But if the case gets ugly, fathers' rights attorneys are taking great advantage of the discriminatory views commonly held by older judges who are overwhelmingly white and male:
" Your Honor she is a slut." (And slut=bad Mom.)
" Your Honor she is crazy." Post-partum depression or treatment with meds for any mental illness is being used against women with success." I do not agree here either. Cases do get ugly but judges have to take all sides into consideration and decide from that what is best for kids. They do not go on he said/she said things most of the time. If there is reasonable doubt, you have to have proof that something is a danger to the kids! Only then can you do something.

"Women are also more commonly in nursing or other professions with irregular or night shifts. So it is common for the father's attorney to point to his office job and successfully argue that his home life and schedule are better for the child." I have to disagree here. Not most women are in those fields that make them work such odd hours. I do not know where you get this idea. I work an 8 to 5 type job. I am off weekends.

1)"American tradition has consistently prodded women to take his name and go where his job and family are located, instead of staying in her hometown. 2)So many divorcing women find themselves away from their hometowns, away from their support base and family, and living near the father's family. 3)This puts Moms at a distinct disadvantage because once the child is born, mothers are no longer allowed to move the child." 1) That tradition has changed a lot in recent years. There are more men and women who do not marry and have kids. Most times the mothers end up raising the kids by themselves with little or no support of the fathers. Sometimes the fathers end up with the kids with no help from the mothers. It goes both ways. 2) People move all the time and that is true. But just because a woman is away from her family does not mean she has no support. You forget sometimes a woman's own family is not her best choice for support sometimes because she does not get along with the family for various reasons. She might have friends or others she can fall back on in need. 3) No woman is at a disavantage unless she does not do things to help herself out.

"While many well meaning women and second wives fight for fathers' rights, and it certainly did need reform, no one seems to be talking about the very real consequences for mothers, and the emotional toll that becoming a non-custodial mother takes on women. This is largely because there is a very negative social stigma against Moms who don't have custody, with people commonly saying " Moms have to be a drug addict or criminal to lose their kids."
No longer is there any tender years doctrine or consideration for nursing, so even Moms of very young children and babies are losing custody at alarming rates, which increases psychological and even physical ramifications. " The first sentence is true. And the second portion is true but the emotional toll is what a woman makes of it. If she feels sorry for herself then yeah the ramifications are going to be bad. But this is not about the woman and man---this is about the kids, darn it and you are not even talking about them. Kids are very tough and can handle a lot of things and are more adaptable than you think. I know this for fact. I am a non-custodial parent in a joint custody venture.

"Women who leave the marital home are commonly prevented from taking their children, which makes women in abusive marriages and relationships even more likely to end up losing primary physical custody of their children. A woman fleeing abuse will be encouraged by police and advocates to leave the home, and assured that custody will be worked out in civil court later on. What they are not telling her is, letting the father have temporary custody with the kids at the home while she is out on her own, will likely result in her losing custody.
Because being female is more expensive and women make less than men, we are also at a clear disadvantage in retaining skilled attorneys, and being able to afford housing in the same school district where the marital home is." I disagree with this as a whole. THis goes both ways not just for women. I think you need to research this again and talk to those who have experienced this.

What you can do:

"Take a hard look around before getting or while pregnant. Is this where you want to live even if your marriage/relationship fails? Remember, it's a 50/50 shot.
Don't follow your man around the country, settling where his career prospects are best while ignoring your own prospects. Be very cautious before moving close to his family and friends, if you are leaving everyone you know far behind.
Remember, if he is showing true colors that are abusive or you are believing you want out, you CAN pack your bags and move away while pregnant, even if legally married. He is NOT legally able to stop you from leaving, getting on a plane, etc. and then YOU are deciding where your child's home will be, and where the court venue will be. Once you give birth, that door closes." Again some women just can not leave their abusers for fear is the reason. Even if this situation did happen, the fathers can still file for custody.

"Moms need to plan for a separation carefully, making sure to stay within their child's school district and causing the child as little changes as possible if you are the one moving out. You need to be able to show a stable environment, where your child's friends and activities remain intact.
Even if you think the divorce won't drag on or get nasty, make sure you have money for an attorney anyway.
Stay in the home if at all possible. If your safety is at stake, stand your ground and get an EPO/DVO that forces him to leave and have no contact with you.
Get a separation order with visitation clearly spelled out. If you don't, remember, he can refuse to give the child back, and even move with the child, and there won't be anything you can do about it. The police will ask for the court order. If there isn't one, there's nothing they can do." This advice I can agree with.

"Just being aware that the playing field has changed and that the rules are different is an important step to make sure that mothers who give birth and love their children aren't suddenly devastated by a loss of custody, and are able to remain in their children's lives." Just being aware and watching yourself and knowing what is what are the best rules to live by.

Custody is about the kids not the parents and who is hurt more than who. Its in the best interest of the kids to be with the father or the mother depending on circumstances behind the choices the judge makes. Some parents are better than others and that is true for both men and women. This is not the "dark ages" as Shawnn has said. So much has changed since the traditional family started. So before publishing this as fact: please rethink what you are doing wit this.

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 10/06/2014

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Oh, look another propaganda post. This very post, verbatim, has been circling the internet for YEARS.

In reality, it was started by a bitter baby-mama who lost residential custody to her ex.

Please, now, address the OTHER SIDE. That of the fathers who have been denied even simple visitation due to the overblown allegations of the women who only wanted a sperm donor.

Laura Mitcheltree - posted on 03/30/2014

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But in all truth, in the dark ages, mothers were allowed to keep their newborns and nurse. So today many might say we are now worse than the dark ages.

My post is not about my personal situation, I simply feel that no one is giving young women the truth. When pregnant women ask questions like " I am 5 months along and my Ex is demanding custody", they are getting answers like " Oh, well just be reasonable and compromise, blah blah...he has equal rights...blah blah...wish you the best..."

I am speaking out and willing to say what few others seem willing to say.

Again ... LADIES, if you are pregnant and in an abusive situation with a male who is not respecting you and is laying claim to your fetus, and sees you as only an incubator to HIS child.... if you don't want that, your BEST option is to leave him while pregnant and MOVE, married or not. And make no mistake, this will be your ONLY opportunity to make the situation how you want it. Once the child is born, you longer get the say, because as even those who disagree with my point of view say, the situation has changed greatly over the last 15 years.

Of course I am not speaking about EVERYONE...DUH. But there is no denying the general shift in attitude and family court decisions AWAY from mothers and TOWARDS the fathers.
Whether you think this is wonderful ( as a 2nd wife who stands to gain financially), or think this is terrible, ALL women have the right to know this. The most disturbing thing to me is, most young single mothers seem to have no clue about the danger they are in in regards to custody of their children.
It is time to at least speak out and point out to women that the rules have changed.

Laura Mitcheltree - posted on 03/30/2014

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I knew that there would be negative replies that deny the new reality for women and mothers. Women are often our own worst enemies, immediately speaking up for men and "equality". Call it what you want, and disagree all you want, but I am certainly not alone in my views. Until you have been on a NCM forum and read the heartbreak and misery from hundreds of Moms, realized that everyone now knows a NCM because we are everywhere, and that men are now at an advantage in family court, you can choose to keep the wool over your eyes.
Until it happens to you.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 03/25/2014

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Well, this is helpful, but in all truth, we do not live in the dark ages any more, and if you feel that your situation was not handled appropriately in court, appeal!

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