A Guide to a Mother’s Rights in Child Custody

A Guide To a Mother's Right to Child Custody

Parents generally have equal rights over their children, so a mother is not usually supposed to have greater custody rights than a father.  Mothers tend to be favored in some ways, though. A mother’s rights in child custody is hard to overrule.

However, there are a couple of things that can affect a mother’s rights in child custody in a negative way. To override a  mother’s rights in child custody there will be a hard legal battle to fight.

Here is some child support advice for mothers-

A mother is easily identified

Sometimes, the identity of a child’s father can be somewhat of a question. If a mother has more than one sexual partner around the time of conception, then a genetic test might be needed to decide who the father is. That is not always conclusive either.  If the mother’s husband cares for the child and the biological father is not in the picture, then the husband could be considered the legal father even if biologically it is a different story.  

Mothers avoid all of this trouble, though, because the woman that gives birth to the child is presumed to be the mother and is given the parental rights for mothers. Married mother’s rights to her child can never be denied unless she is too neglectful and someone else is contesting for the custody.  A mother’s rights in child custody could be affected if there is evidence of abuse by her towards the child.

Mothers are sometimes favored but have no special rights

Until recently, courts generally favored mothers in custody arrangements.  There was an idea that a mother’s care was especially important to a child.  Today, courts focus on the best interest of the child and they usually have to make decisions based on a list of factors laid out in the law.

The law in Virginia is a useful example to look at, as it gives the judge a list of factors he or she must use to decide how custody and visitation should be laid out. The judge must look at the age and mental condition of the child and the parents. Additionally, the judge must consider the needs of the child and how each parent will meet those needs, taking into account the current relationships between the child and each parent and how those relationships may change in the future.

Any history of abuse must also be considered, and the judge must listen to the child if he or she understands what is going on and has a preference. A mother’s rights in child custody could be affected by that.

Child custody rights for mothers are not exclusive. The mother is not explicitly favored in any of these factors, but sometimes mothers can get an advantage in some of the factors.  In particular, in more traditional family settings the mother tends to spend more time at home, and that can make the mother more likely to be close to the child.  Mothers are also less likely to commit abuse. A mother’s rights to her child still may not exclusive, a legal battle will decide that.

How could a mother lose her child custody rights?

Mothers and fathers can both lose their parental rights in the same ways. First, in some circumstances, they can relinquish their parental rights. This is most common when a father that is not close to the child gives up custody to allow the mother’s new husband (the child’s stepdad) to adopt the child.  

A mother can give up her mother’s custody rights the same way, though. More commonly, rights of child custody for mothers are only taken away if the mother is unfit or she neglects or abuses her children. Even there, a mother would have due process and her situation would be reviewed in court and it is extremely rare for a court to completely take away a mother’s rights in child custody.

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