Back in the day, nearly all custody rights were granted to men. Then a major shift occurred and nearly all custody rights were granted to women. Today, there are no general rules, and mother’s custody is about as common as father’s. Where you live may have some impact on father’s or mother’s child custody, but for the most part cases are decided on a case by case trying to determine what is in the best interests of the child. Hopefully, this change results in better living conditions for the children of divorce, but it does make things a bit more stressful. Not knowing what the custody relationship will be can be very stressful, as the thought of missing your child's milestones is very distasteful.
It is very important that you remain involved in your child's life, children need stability. You and the other parent need to set aside your personal baggage to do what is best for your children. This is never easy, but minimizing the trauma on your children should be the utmost priority. The quicker you and the other parent can move forward, the better it is for the family both emotionally and financially.
Finding a good attorney can make all the difference. You want to find someone who will keep you informed and involved in your case. You do not want any surprises, so educating yourself on the process can help you avoid large legal bills due to ignorance. Take charge of your case and do not ever have your attorney waiting on information from you. If you can organize and make information presentable, you can avoid paying your attorney's firm to do things you could have done yourself. Your attorney is your advisor, as such decisions will ultimately be yours to make.
Some simple things to keep in mind:
- Do not lie - Falsely filing restraining orders or calling the police to make the other parent look bad will only make you look bad. The courts hate liars. However, if you or your children are in danger do not hesitate.
- Do not hate - Your ex may have cheated on you, but hating his new girlfriend and resorting to juvenile behavior will only make you look stupid. Take the high road or your feelings towards a new girlfriend may be used against you.
- Do not be idle - If it makes sense for you to go back to work, you should. The courts do not like it when mothers think they are going to rely on alimony or child support when they are capable of working. Obviously, this is general and will depend on the number of children and their ages.
- Do not be ignorant - Not knowing is not going to be an excuse. This is why having a great attorney can make all the difference. If you cannot afford an attorney you should look into attorney who offer pro bono services or contact your local Pro Se center. Most importantly, learn about the process so you are as equipped as you can be.
There are two main types of mother’s child custody in most states, physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody is more related to the day-to-day affairs of the child, whereas legal custody has to do with the life decisions like education, religion, etc. Both types of custody can be granted as shared between the parents, or the court may give sole mother’s custody or father’s custody. You may have sole legal custody, but shared physical custody or you could have both shared legal custody and shared physical custody.
Although the custody arrangement may be shared, that does not mean that it is always shared equally. This is usually detailed in your judgment and decree or parenting plan. Arrangements are based on the best interest for the children and are different from family to family. What happened in your friend's case may or may not have any relevancy to what is going on in yours. There are many websites that claim to help you win your child custody case, this is just impossible. There are no quick fixes and no magic tools that will help you win your custody case.