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Why does the mother almost always get custody?

Unless it's actually been proven that they're unfit, why do they get custody? I know sometimes that's the agreement between the parents. But there are situations where it's hard to actually prove that she's unfit.

We discussed this in my Psych class last semester. My teacher's niece had a baby who suffered from non-organic failure to thrive. The mom wouldn't hold the baby and even went so far as to put the baby on a pillow and lean over him to BF so that she didn't get dirty. When the parent's split up when he was about 6, she got custody (the dad fought for a couple of years before he finally gave up). The kid is about 10 now and she (teacher) said he's miserable except when he's with his dad.


Asked by Mrs.BAT at 10:32 PM on Jan. 19, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 38 (105,028 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (9)
  • It used to be that way almost without exception. Now more and more Men are winning custody. Not a majority, because most don't fight for it. We have 3 friends who all fought their ex wives for custody and won. None proved the ex was unfit. They did prove they could provide a better home. All three exes now pay child support. I think there are a lot of moms out there that disn't deserve custody but got it.

    Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 10:47 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • The court usually believes younger children need their mother most. Mothers are usually the ones that have more parenting instincts, at least in the majority of society's eyes. "Maternal Instinct" and all that. It's odd, especially since it's not always true. Society is finally beginning to realize that father's are sometimes the better parent, but overall, the majority still believe "mother knows best."

    I'm sorry about your teacher's nephew. That is VERY sad!! Perhaps if the father went back now, and asked for Minor's Counsel, he could get custody? Minor's Counsel is supposed to talk to the child and do what is BEST for the child. There also could have been other circumstances that made it necessary for the mother to get custody in that case, that no longer apply?

    Take care!

    Answer by mrskrisher at 10:43 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • I don't know about other places, but here in California, that hasn't been the case for quite awhile. Most of the time parents are given joint custody, and the kids are spending one week with one parent, and the next week with the other parent. I do know quite a few people that the dad has primary custody (the only time one parent has full custody is if the other parent's rights have been terminated), and the mom has visitation, so I think those old rules are changing.

    In the past the mom's were given custody because they had generally been the primary caregiver to the child, now that more mom's work, that too is changing........

    Answer by ohwrite at 10:46 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Mothers tend to be more nurturing towards the children. It's a fact. And children need their mothers, especially in their early stages of development. I can't remember the research study (I'll have to google it), but it basically said children who are with their mothers for the first years of their life fare much better than children who are not with their mothers.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:51 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • One example is not evidence of the entire system.

    In my state, men Rarely rarely rarely file for primary custody. (I've worked in the legal field extensively). They don't get it because they don't ask.

    The court also looks at behavior during the separation. Often the children go with the mother when the couple separates. The court generally finds it in the best interest of the child to stay in the arrangement the parents already had before the court orders.

    Answer by ecodani at 10:53 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • I know plenty of dads who have full custody when because the mother just doesn't have it together.
    You just have to lawyer up and fight like hell, especially if the mom already has custody. Get letters from the teacher and other people who know you and the dad.

    Answer by DomoniqueWS at 10:42 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • that is actually a misconception, In a growing number of states the new status quo is 50/50 and statistically more MEN who ask for custody etc. get it than women (when the actual amount that go for custody is taken into acct.). Also, many states are dropping "custody" in general... and going towards shared parenting.

    Answer by MamiJaAyla at 11:04 PM on Jan. 19, 2011

  • Wow, see this is another reason why I hate living here lol. It will probably be another 100 years before things like that catch up to this area. It's also been like that in a few other states (my info has come from friends and relatives who have gone through custody battles), or at least counties that friends/relatives have lived in, at least in the past 5 years or so. Most of the men I've known have fought (and fought as hard as they possibly could) for at least joint custody, but it was always denied.

    Comment by Mrs.BAT (original poster) at 2:06 AM on Jan. 20, 2011

  • Well I am a mom and I got custody, probably for the same reason most moms do. 1. my ex left us, usually, the dad is the one to leave and the judge usually gives custody to the parent who the child is living with when the parents go to court. 2. my ex has no parenting skills at all. and 3. many dads (like my ex) have no interest in getting custody.

    Answer by JLS2388 at 10:18 AM on Jan. 20, 2011