Motherhood does not guarantee child custody. On the other hand, proving that you’re a great parent or guardian will.
On the other hand, mothers sometimes assume that their custody is a given, when custody is not necessarily automatic.
Whether you’re a mother afraid of losing custody – or a father hoping to win it – Maryland law protects opportunities for both parents to gain custody of their children.
- Yes, mothers often receive custody simply because they are mothers. However, other guardians can file for full or partial custody. Nothing is guaranteed.
- By violating the law or breaking court orders — intentionally or unintentionally — mothers can lose custody of their children if a judge knows about the breach.
- Gender does not (legally) influence custody decisions. Maryland law protects both mothers and fathers being able to retain or obtain custody of their children regardless of gender.
Why Mothers “Always” Receive Custody
The biggest misconception about child custody is that mothers have a better chance at winning custody. That’s not true! Fathers who want custody of their children legally have the same chance as the mother.
There are only two specific situations where mothers are guaranteed custody.
- In Maryland, unmarried mothers are granted sole legal custody of their children until paternity is determined, at which point the father can petition for custody.
- If the father violates court custody orders, then the mother is guaranteed custody in the absence of other guardian petitions.
That’s it. Those instances are the only two things standing in the way of a father and partial or full child custody.
For fathers, know that Maryland law protects custody arrangements against gender discrimination. Most fathers disregard their chances of custody or partial custody.
As a father, you have equal chance of winning custody – but you won’t gain custody if you don’t even petition for it.
How Can A Mother Lose Custody Of Her Child?
Basically, any time a mother (or father!) breaks the law, they run the risk of losing custody — either legal or physical — of their children. These situations can include:
Abusive Mothers Lose Child Custody
It’s not just abuse against the child that the court considers during custody cases.
Mother or father, positive relationships with your ex will only be to your – and your child’s – benefit.
Mothers Abducting Children Will Lose Legal Custody
In court, abduction of your child will break your custody case.
Legally, leaving Maryland with your kids and not telling the other parent with a court-order already in place is considered abduction and an absolute no-no in any custody battle.
Courts make child custody decisions based on whatever is in “the best interest of the child.” Therefore, it would most likely deny or revoke child custody to any parent if they legally “abducted” their child.
Your ex’s lawyers would also frame this “abduction” in the worst way possible. Even if you ultimately win custody, the incident can still be used against you. A Request to Child Custody Modification would be filed if your ex’s lawyers “set forth special findings,” bringing a new case against you.
If you’re ever unsure about traveling with your child during an open custody case, then check with your custody or divorce lawyer. They’ll help you do so without bringing down the wrath of Maryland courts or your ex on your fresh start.
Behavior During Divorce May Cause Mothers to Lose Custody
Dealing with your ex during divorce while also worrying about losing your child might strain even the calmest of tempers. Take a deep breath, and make sure your child stays out of the situation as much as possible. There are healthy places to relieve stress – just not in front of the kids.
Don’t be bitter and petty during the divorce, either, especially when it comes to visitation. Preventing visitation with the other parent could cause you to lose custody. So long as the other parent isn’t abusive, preventing your kids from seeing dad makes you look back to both your kids and judges.
Finally, your child’s input during both divorce and custody cases may impact the court’s decisions. Keeping your child as free from divorce stress as possible while continuing to love them unconditionally will help convince the court you deserve custody.
After all, your child’s wellbeing should be most important consideration: To you, to your ex, and to the court.
Why You Should Establish Paternity While Fighting for Child Custody
However, that finding doesn’t account for all the fathers discouraged from applying in the first place – perpetuating the stereotype.
- A sense of identity for your child,
- Eligibility for state and federal benefits,
- Life insurance benefits, and
- Right to child support.
Maryland Courts Change Child Custody
The state of Maryland cares most about providing the best life for your child, regardless of gender.
The court doesn’t take away custody to be mean or petty. Mothers will lose custody when the court believes another guardian will provide better for the child. Fathers will win full or joint custody if they convince the court doing so is in the child’s best interest.
What you should care about most is your child – not getting back at your ex. Prioritizing your kid and treating your family and ex with love and respect will guarantee your place in your child’s life.
We’re here to help protect your child’s health, happiness, and wellbeing through the custody process. Contact us for a free first consultation to see what can be done to keep your family as safe as possible.