Mothers Who Give up Custody Face Unfair Criticism

MIAMI, Florida. Men give up child custody all the time, but when women do the exact same thing, they sometimes face immense cultural scrutiny. As more women join the workforce, build high-powered careers, and as traditional gender roles evolve, some families find themselves in unique child custody situations. For instance, what happens in a divorce when mom goes to work and dad stays at home with the kids? What happens in a divorce where dad wants to care for the kids full-time while mom wants to pursue an international career? For more families, the decision to award child custody to the father makes the most sense in terms of finances and in consideration of the children’s best interests. For the women who make the decision to give their husbands custody, the social and cultural backlash can be immense.

According to Marie Claire, one woman explains how agonizing the decision proved to be. Even though the father wanted custody, she struggled with fears about what loved ones and neighbors might think about her. Yet, she ultimately chose to put her family’s interests above her fears of what others might say. By giving her ex-husband custody, she was able to pursue her writing and sold her book. She now writes about her new role in her children’s lives. While her husband provides structure, she provides adventure, taking her children on vacations using the money she made from her book.

Divorced fathers make the decision to give the mother custody every day. When they do so they are praised for being strong co-parents and for facilitating an amicable divorce. Yet, when mothers make the exact same decision, society sometimes perceives them as abandoning their children. Other mothers struggle with sharing their family’s arrangement with strangers who they feel may judge them.

Women who give custody to the fathers sometimes do so to further their careers. It can be next to impossible to get a degree while single-handedly caring for children. Other women were married young and never had a chance to explore their goals. In the past, courts would generally automatically award custody to mothers. Today, most custody arrangements are decided with the help of a child custody lawyer through a parenting plan. When child custody battles got to court, a judge will make decisions based on the best interests of the child.

There isn’t the same support system for mothers who give up custody as there is for dads. According to NPR, women are sometimes reluctant to talk about their family situation.

Child custody decisions can be among the most agonizing questions you’ll face as you go through a divorce. Just as every family is unique, the parenting plan that you and your spouse will decide upon will depend upon your needs and the needs of your children. If you are struggling with these questions, contact Sandy B. Becher, P.A. a child custody lawyer in Miami, Florida. Our firm helps families find solutions that work for them. Visit us at to learn more.


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