Are you going through a divorce or separation? Are you concerned about the well-being of your children? If you answered yes to both of these questions, you might be interested in learning about mothers’ custody rights.
It is commonly believed that mothers have more rights than father’s when it comes to children, which is not the case. This article aims to dispel such myths and clarify the most crucial information you need to know about custody rights for mothers.
Are Custody Rights For Mothers Greater?
This first thing that should be addressed and dispelled is the age-old misconception that custody rights for mothers are more significant than that of the fathers. This is not true. If your custody matter were to proceed to Court, the Court’s starting point would be equal shared parental responsibility.
Equal shared parental responsibility is exactly what it sounds like. It is essentially the presumption that both parents are equally responsible for all significant long-term decisions concerning the child. This includes details such as:
- What school the child will attend
- The amount of time each parent spends with the child
- The way the child will be brought up
- The religion of the child
- Any major medical decision concerning the child
This list is by no means exhaustive and can encapsulate many other significant decisions.
Rebutting The Presumption Of Equal Shared Parental Responsibility
Several factors will influence whether the presumption of equal shared parental responsibility will be rebutted. These factors are commonly referred to as the ‘best interests of the child’, which is the legal terminology, encapsulating several considerations. Please see below for a list of these factors.
1. The need to protect the children from exposure to abuse and family violence.
2. The benefit of the child maintaining a meaningful relationship with both of their parents balanced other factors from this list.
3. The child’s views, which are considered in line with their level of maturity and understanding of the circumstances.
4. How willing the child’s parents are to facilitate an ongoing relationship with one another for making arrangements regarding the child.
5. Any unique characteristics or needs that the child may have, and the ability of each parent to fulfil those needs.
6. What effect any changes in the circumstances of the child will have on them. This includes factors such as the child’s living situation and separation from a parent.
Can I Seek Sole Custody / Sole Parental Responsibility?
Both mother and father can seek sole parental responsibility for their children if they wish to do so. However, if the other parent objects to the notion and the matter cannot be resolved informally through discussions or mediation, the case will need to proceed to Court.
For an application for sole parental responsibility to be successful, there will usually need to be some extreme circumstances that weigh against the other parent. These circumstances will usually be a combination of the following factors:
1. The child is exposed to a parent who abuses substances, is violent or abusive towards them or their other parent.
2. The benefit of the child having a meaningful relationship with both parents, relative to the first consideration, is not in favour of that parent.
These factors do not only apply to custody rights for mothers.
Why Does It Seem Like Custody Rights For Mothers Are Greater?
Many people will swear that custody rights for mothers are still more significant than that of fathers because of their personal experience. The most common reason for this is the fact that stereotypical gender roles still exist. This is where the husband is the breadwinner of the household and works for a living, and the mother is the caretaker of the home and children.
As such, because of these roles – the mother will generally be the one who forms a greater bond with the children because of the additional time they spend with the children compared to the father. This bond formed will also be a significant consideration in deciding who the children should primarily live with following a divorce or separation. Therefore, as we can see – custody rights for mothers are not, in fact, more significant, but usually maybe because of this factor. If the roles were reversed and all other factors were equal, the Court would likely favour the father.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
It is crucial that when a parenting dispute arises, which has you questioning custody rights for mothers, that you seek the proper legal assistance of an experienced family lawyer.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
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