Saturday, April 25, 2009

Non Custodial Mothers

First, my thanks to NonCustodial Parent Community blog for the post Noncustodial Moms in Brain,Child Magazine
A long article about noncustodial moms has seen the light of day! I'm thrilled and honored to have been a part of it. Kudos to journalist Katy Read and to Brain,Child magazine for covering this issue. ...
I followed the link and it is a well worth reading by both fathers and mothers. Yes, it is long. Here are the highlights I found most interesting with some comments of my own.

Brain, Child :: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers
The suspicion that people secretly doubt their fitness as parents haunts most noncustodial mothers—even loving, caring, law-abiding mothers who’ve always acted in their children’s best interests.

Their worries are not unfounded. As a society, we don’t quite know what to make of mothers who don’t live with their kids. Whether it’s expressed openly or not, society still tends to assume that the mother is the parent mainly in charge of caring for children, and the one best equipped to do it well, the one to whom most of the responsibility rightly falls. A father pushing his child in a stroller draws charmed smiles—Wow, what a great dad, helping out!—from people who wouldn’t look twice at a woman behind the stroller, just doing her job.
I have written here and told my clients that the greatest problems for fathers getting custody is not a legal prejudice but a cultural prejudice. In the years of my practice, I cannot agree more with the use of gray below:
Even among these ostensibly voluntary arrangements, made privately or informally within families, some situations are actually “a little more gray,” says Geoffrey Greif, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, who conducted a pioneering study of noncustodial mothers in the 1980s. For example, he says, a woman might say, “I divorced my husband and I need to earn more money and I can’t do that if I have [to pay for] child care. My husband happened to start his career ten years sooner, while I was home taking care of the children. He has more job flexibility; he can pay for a babysitter.” In cases like that, the mothers gave up custody willingly, Greif says, meaning they didn’t fight in court. “But it’s sort of unwilling, based on the roles of men and women in society,” he says. “Men make more than women. He gets to reap the benefit of that.”

As for women unwillingly separated from their children by court order, there, too, is a lot of gray. Their status may mean that they willingly signed over their rights for various reasons, or it may mean they lost the legal battle with their children’s father. When there is a dispute over custody, parents don’t always enter a courtroom on equal footing, financially or otherwise. Some women—especially former stay-at-home mothers who did not have a career or separate finances—can’t afford lawyers and lengthy court fights. Ginna Babcock, an adjunct associate professor at the University of Idaho, who has studied noncustodial parents of both sexes, says many women lose custody “essentially by default.”
But society hasn’t fully caught onto the fact that the term “noncustodial mother” no longer suggests, as it once might have, that the child was forcibly removed because of the mother’s inadequacy.

“Clearly that's not the case anymore,” Miller Zimon says, “but there's not been an effort to really change the image of that.”
It might help those who advocate for fathers as custodial parents to work on the cultural prejudice against non-custodial mothers.

Remember, if you want more information about retaining me for a case, please give me a call at 765-641-7906.


Rebekah said...

Thanks for posting and commenting on this important issue!! Your blog is great:)

NonCustodial Mom

Sam Hasler said...

Thank you for the compliment. Yes, it is an important issue.