Mother's Rights in Child Custody

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What Are a Mother?s Rights in Child Custody?

In any child custody hearing, the mother of the child has certain rights and obligations regarding custody of the child. However, in determining child custody, every court is required to use the child’s best interest standard. Custody will be determined in a way that serves to further the child’s development.

Many people simply assume that the mother will be automatically granted full custody of the children in a divorce case. However, if a judge concludes that it is not in the child’s best interest to grant sole custody to the mother, they will devise a custody arrangement that may better suits the child’s needs.  Still, in many cases the mother is granted physical custody of the child because the child is often more emotionally attached to the mother than the father. 

When determining child custody and visitation schedules, the mother’s rights include:

Thus, a mother’s rights in child custody often overlap with the duties and responsibilities of the father. This means that both parties must cooperate in order to create an agreeable child-rearing environment.

Does the Mother Have Any Obligations with Regards to Child Custody?

In addition to their rights in a child custody setting, mothers also have several obligations to both the child and the other parent. These are also called “non-rights”, and involve certain actions that the mother cannot take when interacting with the child and any other parties.

The mother’s child custody obligations may include:

Thus, a mother does not have the right to break the law or engage in negligent, reckless, or abusive behavior. Also, a court will often consider whether the mother’s social conduct negatively affects the child’s emotional behavior.

Can Court Custody Orders Be Changed or Modified?

Yes- if the court determines that it is necessary to change or modify a custody order, they will do so as soon as possible. Again, any changes to an existing child custody order must serve the child’s best interest before the interests of either parent. 

Child custody orders are commonly changed under the following circumstances:

Child custody orders are often issued in a way that anticipates such changes as mentioned above. Custody orders are not always permanent and may be modified if a parent petitions the court for a modification.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Mother’s Rights in Child Custody?

As the mother of a child in a divorce setting, you have numerous rights with regards to child custody. If you do not understand your rights to custody, you may wish to contact a family lawyer for advice. Your attorney can help advise you of your custody rights under your state’s laws. You may wish to hire a child custody lawyer before the hearings begin, so that they can assist you and represent you throughout the custody process.

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Last Modified: 05-13-2014 11:50 AM PDT

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