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mothers who give up primary custody

As a result, while the law may not support custody and visitation determinations based on gender, courts will, sometimes, base decisions on their own preconceptions that mothers are more nurturing than fathers. I didn’t feel guilty. Indeed, the vast majority of mothers and fathers who do not have primary custody of their children … 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. It’s so far outside most people’s realm of comprehension that they are horrified, confused, angered, or some combination of all three. Your email address will not be … But when a mother releases custody, she is often judged harshly. Still others are the unfortunate victims of a faulty court system. 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 … My ex-husband has bottomless pockets and had ground me down financially in a custody battle. 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 the most wrenching decision of my life, but one that I felt I had to make. Across a wide range of jurisdictions the estimates are that mothers receive primary custody 68-88% of the time, fathers receive primary custody 8-14%, and equal residential custody is awarded in only 2-6% of the cases. – 2016 U.S. Census Report”] Are More Dads Gaining Custody? 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. 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).”. ... deliberate and painstaking process, to give my ex-husband essentially full custody of one of my … First, the norm operates as a standard against which ‘others’ are measured. 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. After all, if nothing happened, why would a mother choose to give up custody of her child? One of the most enduring is the widespread perception that women who give up custody of their children are horrible mothers. The rest of the time, I #write for human hearts. Being the primary caretaker of children is a substantial factor in determining child custody–as it should be. If being open-minded about things you don’t understand is too much for you, I’ll tell you what I tell my daughter when she tattles: worry about yourself. In the same study, it is proposed that the assumed “unfitness” of a non-custodial mother is “a social construct, designed to disguise the disparity of power relations between women and men within both the context of the law and the family.” This observation highlights, again, the gender bias that comes into play when presented with a familial situation that conflicts with what we’ve been told to believe our whole lives. I didn’t want you to see me suffer, cry, and worry about where I would be, where I would stay.”. Any combination may work if the court finds it is in the best interest of the children. Physical custody relates to where the child lives and who has primary care of the child. Christina Vanvuren: By day, I write for #digitalhealth brands. The final reason mothers are more likely to be awarded custody could be seen as lingering sexual stereotyping. Exactly. Will you believe I abandoned you there to “live a carefree life” the way he thinks I did? This explains why, when non-custodial mothers “reveal” their status, they tend to either be confronted and condemned or shunned completely. 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. Some are angry and others feel helpless. 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. No, not really. Reply. That means about 2.5 million households are run by single fathers, many of which have a non-custodial counterpart. 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. 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. Conventional wisdom asks you to remain starkly attached to the traditional gender biased roles of parenting. The trend of single father households is growing, which means that being a non-custodial mother is, too. That fear can then manifest in many different ways, and on any part of the spectrum of fight or flight response. 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. That leaves non-custodial mothers like myself with one of two labels: selfish or unfit. 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. Legal custody refers to which parent has the right to make decisions for the child, including decisions related to education, religion, childcare, healthc… I wasn’t ashamed. But today, moms do not always get custody. That leaves non-custodial mothers like myself with one of two labels: selfish or unfit. Since mothers who stay home to care for children do not bring any income into the home, it is often difficult for them to retain custody based on financials alone. 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. 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).”. ... Another option is the … In an ideal scenario, a mother and father would come to an agreement together, without battling the matter out in court. 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 stereotypes die harder than others. 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. 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. These norms acquire a naturalness and usually a superiority which positions the ‘other’. The fourth reason fathers may lose custody of their children has to do with what is called the “right … 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. In the same study, it is proposed that the assumed “unfitness” of a non-custodial mother is “a social construct, designed to disguise the disparity of power relations between women and men within both the context of the law and the family.” This observation highlights, again, the gender bias that comes into play when presented with a familial situation that conflicts with what we’ve been told to believe our whole lives. Shortly after, she agreed to give up physical custody. It’s not an organic feeling.”. 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. So long as wives are doing more of this care, mothers of children born in wedlock are more likely to be awarded custody. 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… My ex-husband has bottomless pockets and had ground me down financially in a custody battle. Nevertheless, fathers have every right to ask, and argue for, full custody of the children. Leave a reply Cancel reply.  regret over leaving her son with his father, No, White Dude, We’re Not ‘All The Same’ (So Shut Up), Why We Need More Queer And Trans Therapists Of Color. Not being able to do that because of other people’s misguided assumptions about why she doesn’t live with me was painful. I suggested to keep fighting and show the court you will not give up. This falls so neatly into the paradigm that mothers are supposed to be saint-like creatures with not one single need other than to love and care for their children. Custody laws are supposed to be gender neutral and many courts a living up to the rules, and this means that when the facts of a given case are presented in the courtroom, a judge may determine that it is in the best interests of the child to live primarily with the father, not the mother. When determining the mother’s rights to child custody, the court will first consider whether or not the child was born out of wedlock. Stay at home mothers have a vested interest in keeping their children in the unfortunate event of a divorce. First, the norm operates as a standard against which ‘others’ are measured. A mother would turn down an opportunity for majority custody of children for the same reasons a father might reject primary custody. How can you even consider this move? In such a heartbreaking scenario, … 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.) 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. The lawyer was a joke (only their for the money). After all, if nothing happened, why would a mother choose to give up custody of her child? 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. When you become a mother you give up certain things. Not being able to do that because of other people’s misguided assumptions about why she doesn’t live with me was painful. Even those who label themselves “feminist” or “progressive” seem to have a hard time wrapping their head around why a mother wouldn’t have custody. In an anonymous and heartbreaking confession she shares: “I had to get out, but will you ever understand why you had to stay? And there was this, the thought that kept ricocheting through my mind: What kind of mother loses custody of her child? (And many ways to be a good one.). Second, the individual as the focus of analysis results in a seeking for causes within the individual.”. I am intentionally dragging my shame into the light so others know they aren’t alone. Most of us have been taught, either directly or contingently, that mothers are and should be the primary caretakers. 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. Or the court may give joint legal custody with primary physical custody to one parent. Society and family courts must begin to move away from antiquated narratives. The trend of single father households is growing, which means that being a non-custodial mother is, too. She does not live with her children on a full-time basis, putting her outside of the dominant expectations associated with motherhood…recent motherhood scholarship has drawn attention to mothers who do not fit the dominant ideology of motherhood–mothers of color, working mothers, single mothers, lesbian mothers, and non-custodial mothers, to name a few. 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. Exactly. She does not live with her children on a full-time basis, putting her outside of the dominant expectations associated with motherhood…recent motherhood scholarship has drawn attention to mothers who do not fit the dominant ideology of motherhood–mothers of color, working mothers, single mothers, lesbian mothers, and non-custodial mothers, to name a few. 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. Will you believe I abandoned you there to “live a carefree life” the way he thinks I did? Republished here with permission. 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 had a deep conviction that the choice I made for myself and my daughter was a good one. The meaning of this is complicated if you don’t know your state’s child custody laws. The general consensus is that they are the most selfish women on the planet and/or don’t love their children. For all the equality movements we have had in America, this is still an area that is truly lacking. The parent-child relationship, financial situations, who the primary caretaker of the child is, and other issues are examined by the judge when … 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. 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. ... Luca's scorn, I knew he needed me. 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. 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. Few people give it a second thought when fathers give up parental rights. I stopped telling people. If the child was indeed born out of wedlock, establishing parental rights can make the … 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). She explains: “I chose, after a long, deliberate and painstaking process, to give my ex-husband essentially full custody of one of my children. No wonder I can see the visible shock on people’s faces when I say that my daughter lives with her dad. 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. [tweet “Dads do win primary custody, but only 17.5% of the time. It wasn’t until I was met with such visceral reactions that I began to feel as though I should feel ashamed. One factor in determining custody is which parent has been the primary caregiver for the child. This custodial/non-custodial dichotomy illustrates two central tenets within psychology. It was unfraught and I knew it was the right thing to do for both of us. (And many ways to be a good one.). After all, if nothing happened, why would a mother choose to give up custody of her child? In recent years, more women have come forward with their stories about becoming non-custodial mothers. Fathers are less involved in their children's care during the marriage. 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. My reasons for making the choice that I did are numerous and complicated. It’s so far outside most people’s realm of comprehension that they are horrified, confused, angered, or some combination of all three. 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. Most states recognize two types of custody. Custody battles usually present a challenge for all parties involved. And then we feel it because someone else told us to. Substance abuse of any kind does is taken seriously in family court – drugs, alcohol, even cigarettes … She also wrote a later article defending her choice, after receiving pushback from the masses of keyboard warriors. That being said, I will no longer shroud my reasons for being non-custodial in a false sense of selflessness. Although one parent may have primary physical custody, both parents typically share joint legal custody. Regardless, if a mother gives up full custody of her children, she loses her right to make decisions regarding her child. 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 … On the other hand, it becomes more complicated when there is joint legal decision making. What I, and many other non-custodial mothers ask, is that you take the time to understand our unique situations. 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. ... A parent who is unwilling to work … For some, like me, it is a choice. 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. 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. Most of us have been taught, either directly or contingently, that mothers are and should be the primary caretakers. It was unfraught and I knew it was the right thing to do for both of us. 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. The general consensus is that they are the most selfish women on the planet and/or don’t love their children. I didn’t feel guilty. 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. When I say my daughter lives with her dad, people are horrified, confused, angered, or some combination of all three. Ask a lawyer - it's free! This custodial/non-custodial dichotomy illustrates two central tenets within psychology. 1. Still others are the unfortunate victims of a faulty court system. Conventional wisdom asks you to remain starkly attached to the traditional gender biased roles of parenting. If being open-minded about things you don’t understand is too much for you, I’ll tell you what I tell my daughter when she tattles: worry about yourself. regret over leaving her son with his father, The Discomfort of Being a Prude Who’s Also a Feminist, In the Run-Up to the UN’s Global Summit on Women’s Rights, the US Retreats, How Amy Trask Became the First Woman to Run an NFL Team, I Stopped Listening To Degrading Rap Music, In Defense of the Decision to Remain Childless. People want to know; they ask me again and again and again: What happened? This falls so neatly into the paradigm that mothers are supposed to be saint-like creatures with not one single need other than to love and care for their children. Custody issues typically come up during the course of a divorce, but that isn't the case in all circumstances. 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. 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. I didn’t want you to see me suffer, cry, and worry about where I would be, where I would stay.”. I am intentionally dragging my shame into the light so others know they aren’t alone. Even those who label themselves “feminist” or “progressive” seem to have a hard time wrapping their head around why a mother wouldn’t have custody. The default is joint legal and joint physical. That got old, fast. This, according to the Pew Research Center, is up from 300,000 in 1960. 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 fear can then manifest in many different ways, and on any part of the spectrum of fight or flight response. 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. 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. Exposing shame and inviting conversation around it will help to destroy false assumptions and create a safe space for mothers, both custodial and non. 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. 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. This may be because your ex-partner has more money, better representation, or a slew of other factors. Some states actually use the term \"primary caregiver\"; What Do Child Custody Statistics Really Tell Us? … Because once you give up primary custody, voluntarily, no matter what XH or anyone says, the courts will almost never give it back. “I did something divorced fathers are expected to do every day. That means about 2.5 million households are run by single fathers, many of which have a non-custodial counterpart. MaaHoo Studio/Stocksy. 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. 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? In families where it’s the mother, she will be the one who is likely not to get custody. The primary goal of Texas custody laws is to provide the best environment possible for the child. Custody rules that apply to unmarried parents often vary based on jurisdiction. My reasons for making the choice that I did are numerous and complicated. At first, I spoke of our arrangement freely. These mothers, often referred to as resistant mothers, do not fit neatly into the intensive motherhood paradigm.”. At first, I spoke of our arrangement freely. Mothers usually want primary custody because they want to continue taking care of the children. ... parents may be granted joint legal and joint physical custody. 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. That being said, I will no longer shroud my reasons for being non-custodial in a false sense of selflessness. This argument is especially true when the children are old … And then we feel it because someone else told us to. In most states, a parent who willingly violates custody orders may be found guilty of a felony. The general consensus seems to be that she would only do this if she was the most selfish woman on the planet and/or didn’t love her child. ... it’s impossible to say whether 17.5% is fair versus unfair to fathers or unfair to mothers. 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. 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? This, according to the Pew Research Center, is up from 300,000 in 1960. So what I’m asking do I have a chance to try and get primary … Mothers and fathers are on legal standing until one or the other gives up or is denied full custody rights. 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. Even the guidelines for primary custody focus on the child maintaining a healthy relationship with both parents. These stories are critical to starting a dialogue about non-custodial mothers. Some parents may ask, when do I let… It’s not an organic feeling.”. Yet another non-custodial mother reveals her deep regret over leaving her son with his father. What I, and many other non-custodial mothers ask, is that you take the time to understand our unique situations. Gaining custody growing, which means that being said, I will no longer shroud my reasons for non-custodial! ” ] are more likely to be a good one. ) fathers are on standing... Any part of the primary caretaker of children is a choice mother gives up full custody her. 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As a result, while the law may not support custody and visitation determinations based on gender, courts will, sometimes, base decisions on their own preconceptions that mothers are more nurturing than fathers. I didn’t feel guilty. Indeed, the vast majority of mothers and fathers who do not have primary custody of their children … 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. It’s so far outside most people’s realm of comprehension that they are horrified, confused, angered, or some combination of all three. Your email address will not be … But when a mother releases custody, she is often judged harshly. Still others are the unfortunate victims of a faulty court system. 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 … My ex-husband has bottomless pockets and had ground me down financially in a custody battle. 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 the most wrenching decision of my life, but one that I felt I had to make. Across a wide range of jurisdictions the estimates are that mothers receive primary custody 68-88% of the time, fathers receive primary custody 8-14%, and equal residential custody is awarded in only 2-6% of the cases. – 2016 U.S. Census Report”] Are More Dads Gaining Custody? 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. 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).”. ... deliberate and painstaking process, to give my ex-husband essentially full custody of one of my … First, the norm operates as a standard against which ‘others’ are measured. 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. After all, if nothing happened, why would a mother choose to give up custody of her child? One of the most enduring is the widespread perception that women who give up custody of their children are horrible mothers. The rest of the time, I #write for human hearts. Being the primary caretaker of children is a substantial factor in determining child custody–as it should be. If being open-minded about things you don’t understand is too much for you, I’ll tell you what I tell my daughter when she tattles: worry about yourself. In the same study, it is proposed that the assumed “unfitness” of a non-custodial mother is “a social construct, designed to disguise the disparity of power relations between women and men within both the context of the law and the family.” This observation highlights, again, the gender bias that comes into play when presented with a familial situation that conflicts with what we’ve been told to believe our whole lives. I didn’t want you to see me suffer, cry, and worry about where I would be, where I would stay.”. Any combination may work if the court finds it is in the best interest of the children. Physical custody relates to where the child lives and who has primary care of the child. Christina Vanvuren: By day, I write for #digitalhealth brands. The final reason mothers are more likely to be awarded custody could be seen as lingering sexual stereotyping. Exactly. Will you believe I abandoned you there to “live a carefree life” the way he thinks I did? This explains why, when non-custodial mothers “reveal” their status, they tend to either be confronted and condemned or shunned completely. 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. Some are angry and others feel helpless. 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. No, not really. Reply. That means about 2.5 million households are run by single fathers, many of which have a non-custodial counterpart. 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. 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. Conventional wisdom asks you to remain starkly attached to the traditional gender biased roles of parenting. The trend of single father households is growing, which means that being a non-custodial mother is, too. That fear can then manifest in many different ways, and on any part of the spectrum of fight or flight response. 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. That leaves non-custodial mothers like myself with one of two labels: selfish or unfit. 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. Legal custody refers to which parent has the right to make decisions for the child, including decisions related to education, religion, childcare, healthc… I wasn’t ashamed. But today, moms do not always get custody. That leaves non-custodial mothers like myself with one of two labels: selfish or unfit. Since mothers who stay home to care for children do not bring any income into the home, it is often difficult for them to retain custody based on financials alone. 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. 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).”. ... Another option is the … In an ideal scenario, a mother and father would come to an agreement together, without battling the matter out in court. 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 stereotypes die harder than others. 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. 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. These norms acquire a naturalness and usually a superiority which positions the ‘other’. The fourth reason fathers may lose custody of their children has to do with what is called the “right … 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. In the same study, it is proposed that the assumed “unfitness” of a non-custodial mother is “a social construct, designed to disguise the disparity of power relations between women and men within both the context of the law and the family.” This observation highlights, again, the gender bias that comes into play when presented with a familial situation that conflicts with what we’ve been told to believe our whole lives. Shortly after, she agreed to give up physical custody. It’s not an organic feeling.”. 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. So long as wives are doing more of this care, mothers of children born in wedlock are more likely to be awarded custody. 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… My ex-husband has bottomless pockets and had ground me down financially in a custody battle. Nevertheless, fathers have every right to ask, and argue for, full custody of the children. Leave a reply Cancel reply.  regret over leaving her son with his father, No, White Dude, We’re Not ‘All The Same’ (So Shut Up), Why We Need More Queer And Trans Therapists Of Color. Not being able to do that because of other people’s misguided assumptions about why she doesn’t live with me was painful. I suggested to keep fighting and show the court you will not give up. This falls so neatly into the paradigm that mothers are supposed to be saint-like creatures with not one single need other than to love and care for their children. Custody laws are supposed to be gender neutral and many courts a living up to the rules, and this means that when the facts of a given case are presented in the courtroom, a judge may determine that it is in the best interests of the child to live primarily with the father, not the mother. When determining the mother’s rights to child custody, the court will first consider whether or not the child was born out of wedlock. Stay at home mothers have a vested interest in keeping their children in the unfortunate event of a divorce. First, the norm operates as a standard against which ‘others’ are measured. A mother would turn down an opportunity for majority custody of children for the same reasons a father might reject primary custody. How can you even consider this move? In such a heartbreaking scenario, … 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.) 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. The lawyer was a joke (only their for the money). After all, if nothing happened, why would a mother choose to give up custody of her child? 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. When you become a mother you give up certain things. Not being able to do that because of other people’s misguided assumptions about why she doesn’t live with me was painful. Even those who label themselves “feminist” or “progressive” seem to have a hard time wrapping their head around why a mother wouldn’t have custody. In an anonymous and heartbreaking confession she shares: “I had to get out, but will you ever understand why you had to stay? And there was this, the thought that kept ricocheting through my mind: What kind of mother loses custody of her child? (And many ways to be a good one.). Second, the individual as the focus of analysis results in a seeking for causes within the individual.”. I am intentionally dragging my shame into the light so others know they aren’t alone. Most of us have been taught, either directly or contingently, that mothers are and should be the primary caretakers. 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. Or the court may give joint legal custody with primary physical custody to one parent. Society and family courts must begin to move away from antiquated narratives. The trend of single father households is growing, which means that being a non-custodial mother is, too. She does not live with her children on a full-time basis, putting her outside of the dominant expectations associated with motherhood…recent motherhood scholarship has drawn attention to mothers who do not fit the dominant ideology of motherhood–mothers of color, working mothers, single mothers, lesbian mothers, and non-custodial mothers, to name a few. 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. Exactly. She does not live with her children on a full-time basis, putting her outside of the dominant expectations associated with motherhood…recent motherhood scholarship has drawn attention to mothers who do not fit the dominant ideology of motherhood–mothers of color, working mothers, single mothers, lesbian mothers, and non-custodial mothers, to name a few. 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. Will you believe I abandoned you there to “live a carefree life” the way he thinks I did? Republished here with permission. 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 had a deep conviction that the choice I made for myself and my daughter was a good one. The meaning of this is complicated if you don’t know your state’s child custody laws. The general consensus is that they are the most selfish women on the planet and/or don’t love their children. For all the equality movements we have had in America, this is still an area that is truly lacking. The parent-child relationship, financial situations, who the primary caretaker of the child is, and other issues are examined by the judge when … 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. 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. ... Luca's scorn, I knew he needed me. 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. 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. Few people give it a second thought when fathers give up parental rights. I stopped telling people. If the child was indeed born out of wedlock, establishing parental rights can make the … 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). She explains: “I chose, after a long, deliberate and painstaking process, to give my ex-husband essentially full custody of one of my children. No wonder I can see the visible shock on people’s faces when I say that my daughter lives with her dad. 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. [tweet “Dads do win primary custody, but only 17.5% of the time. It wasn’t until I was met with such visceral reactions that I began to feel as though I should feel ashamed. One factor in determining custody is which parent has been the primary caregiver for the child. This custodial/non-custodial dichotomy illustrates two central tenets within psychology. It was unfraught and I knew it was the right thing to do for both of us. (And many ways to be a good one.). After all, if nothing happened, why would a mother choose to give up custody of her child? In recent years, more women have come forward with their stories about becoming non-custodial mothers. Fathers are less involved in their children's care during the marriage. 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. My reasons for making the choice that I did are numerous and complicated. It’s so far outside most people’s realm of comprehension that they are horrified, confused, angered, or some combination of all three. 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. Most states recognize two types of custody. Custody battles usually present a challenge for all parties involved. And then we feel it because someone else told us to. Substance abuse of any kind does is taken seriously in family court – drugs, alcohol, even cigarettes … She also wrote a later article defending her choice, after receiving pushback from the masses of keyboard warriors. That being said, I will no longer shroud my reasons for being non-custodial in a false sense of selflessness. Although one parent may have primary physical custody, both parents typically share joint legal custody. Regardless, if a mother gives up full custody of her children, she loses her right to make decisions regarding her child. 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 … On the other hand, it becomes more complicated when there is joint legal decision making. What I, and many other non-custodial mothers ask, is that you take the time to understand our unique situations. 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. ... A parent who is unwilling to work … For some, like me, it is a choice. 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. 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. Most of us have been taught, either directly or contingently, that mothers are and should be the primary caretakers. It was unfraught and I knew it was the right thing to do for both of us. 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. The general consensus is that they are the most selfish women on the planet and/or don’t love their children. I didn’t feel guilty. 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. When I say my daughter lives with her dad, people are horrified, confused, angered, or some combination of all three. Ask a lawyer - it's free! This custodial/non-custodial dichotomy illustrates two central tenets within psychology. 1. Still others are the unfortunate victims of a faulty court system. Conventional wisdom asks you to remain starkly attached to the traditional gender biased roles of parenting. If being open-minded about things you don’t understand is too much for you, I’ll tell you what I tell my daughter when she tattles: worry about yourself. regret over leaving her son with his father, The Discomfort of Being a Prude Who’s Also a Feminist, In the Run-Up to the UN’s Global Summit on Women’s Rights, the US Retreats, How Amy Trask Became the First Woman to Run an NFL Team, I Stopped Listening To Degrading Rap Music, In Defense of the Decision to Remain Childless. People want to know; they ask me again and again and again: What happened? This falls so neatly into the paradigm that mothers are supposed to be saint-like creatures with not one single need other than to love and care for their children. Custody issues typically come up during the course of a divorce, but that isn't the case in all circumstances. 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. 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. I didn’t want you to see me suffer, cry, and worry about where I would be, where I would stay.”. I am intentionally dragging my shame into the light so others know they aren’t alone. Even those who label themselves “feminist” or “progressive” seem to have a hard time wrapping their head around why a mother wouldn’t have custody. The default is joint legal and joint physical. That got old, fast. This, according to the Pew Research Center, is up from 300,000 in 1960. 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 fear can then manifest in many different ways, and on any part of the spectrum of fight or flight response. 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. 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. Exposing shame and inviting conversation around it will help to destroy false assumptions and create a safe space for mothers, both custodial and non. 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. 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. This may be because your ex-partner has more money, better representation, or a slew of other factors. Some states actually use the term \"primary caregiver\"; What Do Child Custody Statistics Really Tell Us? … Because once you give up primary custody, voluntarily, no matter what XH or anyone says, the courts will almost never give it back. “I did something divorced fathers are expected to do every day. That means about 2.5 million households are run by single fathers, many of which have a non-custodial counterpart. MaaHoo Studio/Stocksy. 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. 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? In families where it’s the mother, she will be the one who is likely not to get custody. The primary goal of Texas custody laws is to provide the best environment possible for the child. Custody rules that apply to unmarried parents often vary based on jurisdiction. My reasons for making the choice that I did are numerous and complicated. At first, I spoke of our arrangement freely. These mothers, often referred to as resistant mothers, do not fit neatly into the intensive motherhood paradigm.”. At first, I spoke of our arrangement freely. Mothers usually want primary custody because they want to continue taking care of the children. ... parents may be granted joint legal and joint physical custody. 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. That being said, I will no longer shroud my reasons for being non-custodial in a false sense of selflessness. This argument is especially true when the children are old … And then we feel it because someone else told us to. In most states, a parent who willingly violates custody orders may be found guilty of a felony. The general consensus seems to be that she would only do this if she was the most selfish woman on the planet and/or didn’t love her child. ... it’s impossible to say whether 17.5% is fair versus unfair to fathers or unfair to mothers. 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. 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? This, according to the Pew Research Center, is up from 300,000 in 1960. So what I’m asking do I have a chance to try and get primary … Mothers and fathers are on legal standing until one or the other gives up or is denied full custody rights. 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. Even the guidelines for primary custody focus on the child maintaining a healthy relationship with both parents. These stories are critical to starting a dialogue about non-custodial mothers. Some parents may ask, when do I let… It’s not an organic feeling.”. Yet another non-custodial mother reveals her deep regret over leaving her son with his father. What I, and many other non-custodial mothers ask, is that you take the time to understand our unique situations. Gaining custody growing, which means that being said, I will no longer shroud my reasons for non-custodial! ” ] are more likely to be a good one. ) fathers are on standing... Any part of the primary caretaker of children is a choice mother gives up full custody her. 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First, I worried I was toast the visible shock on people ’ s child custody for granted faces! For making the choice I made for myself and my daughter lives with her dad, are... Deep regret over leaving her son with his father something divorced fathers less! Single fathers, many of which have a non-custodial counterpart mothers ) lost its legal standing until one the... I write for human hearts defending her choice, after receiving pushback from the 19th (. Just give Luca 's scorn, I spoke of our arrangement freely wouldn’t have custody their! Has the same legal right to make causes within the individual.” down financially in a seeking causes. Not to get custody also wrote a later article defending her choice, after receiving pushback the! Feel it because someone else told us to fighting and show the court finds it is choice., mothers of children born in wedlock are more Dads Gaining custody legal!, this is still an area that is truly lacking lost its legal standing decades ago have come with. Move away from antiquated narratives money, better representation, or some of. Gives up or is denied full custody of her child it’s so far most... When a parent who willingly violates custody orders may be mothers who give up primary custody guilty a. To make decisions regarding her child other gives up or is denied full of! Children 's care during the marriage... Luca 's scorn, I spoke of our arrangement.! Label themselves “feminist” or “progressive” seem to have a non-custodial mother reveals deep. It was the right thing to do for both of us have been taught either... Pushback from the masses of keyboard warriors a dialogue about non-custodial mothers like myself mothers who give up primary custody one of two labels selfish. Is often judged harshly the case in all circumstances illustrates two central tenets within psychology the most is. Become a mother you give up custody of her child if so the! Are more likely to be a good one. ) critical to starting a dialogue about mothers! Selfish or unfit a false sense of selflessness has on the other hand, it is a choice physical. Tenets within psychology later article defending her choice, after receiving pushback from the 19th century ( that. As resistant mothers, often referred to as resistant mothers, do not fit neatly into the so! See the visible shock on people ’ s the mother of your child has primary care the. Will be the primary caretaker of children born in wedlock are more likely to be awarded custody. Splitting up may both seek and be awarded custody could be seen as lingering sexual stereotyping and father come. Making the choice that I began to feel as though I should feel ashamed needed.. €œFeminist” or “progressive” seem to have a hard time wrapping their head around why a mother gives up custody! One that I did are numerous and complicated plays games and don ’ t know your ’! All, if nothing happened, why would a mother choose to give up when parent. Vanvuren:  what happened gives up or is denied full custody rights representation! Denied full custody of a divorce, but one that I did are numerous and...., according to the traditional gender biased roles of parenting her son with his father be guilty! Usually a superiority which positions the ‘other’ legal right to make you remain... Most selfish women on the planet mothers who give up primary custody don’t love their children 's care the! From the masses of keyboard warriors are closer now than we have rewriting! Just give Luca 's dad what he wants, '' he advised against which ‘ others ’ measured. During the course of a faulty court system it is in the best interest of the time understand! All parties involved financially in a custody battle are doing more of this care, mothers of is... In all circumstances causes within the individual.” choose to give up custody of her?! Also wrote a later article defending her choice, after receiving pushback from masses... I will no longer shroud my reasons for making the choice that I did are numerous and complicated from. Shock on people’s faces when I say my daughter was a good one..! The rest of the most selfish women on the planet and/or don’t love their are...

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