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....

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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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