A mother's rights during a divorce proceeding will depend on what the court or judge orders the mother to do. Most courts tend to favour the mother over the father when determining contested custody cases. The law clearly states that both parents should have equal rights over their children during a divorce proceeding regardless of the sex of the person.
Mother's Custody Rights
A mother has the right to ask the court to determine the paternity of the child by filing a petition.
A mother has the right to request the court to order the father to pay child support payments to her, on behalf of her child.
A mother has the right to file a petition asking the court to order the father to pay for the medical and health insurance of the child.
A mother has the right to file a petition asking the court to order the father to cover the shared costs incurred during the birth of the child and legal expenses that have accumulated during the divorce proceedings.
Even though a mother has rights, it is always best to have an experienced attorney represent her to protect her best interests. Additionally, all dealings with the husband that she is divorcing should be resolved in an amicable manner. If both parties attempt to iron out issues in a positive manner, then everyone involved, especially the children, will be in a better place.
Go to Court
If after the mother has tried all attempts to resolve matters amicably and she finds she is either not receiving child support or having other issues, such as problems or interference with visitation, then she should not be afraid to go to court and seek modification of her rights through the judge.
Preferences for Mothers or Fathers
During custody hearings, the current law that affects most states clearly indicates that both mother and father have no preference over one another. In contested custody cases, both the mother and the father have the equal burden to present to the court why it is in the best interest of the child to be placed with one parent over the other.
Best Interest of a Child
There are many factors a court will consider when determining which parent would be best suited to the child and the child's best interests. The safety and welfare of the child and the child's well being are the most critical factors a judge will look at when deciding a contested child custody matter.
According to DivorceDes, most judges "interpret custody law in the light of the Tender Years Doctrine, which favours mothers as the custodial parent of children in the tender years, and the Maternal Preference, which suggests that all things being equal children are better off with their mothers." Although laws have changed to no longer include maternal preference, most judges still lean towards the thought process that children, especially young children, are better off with their mother.
Types of Custody
There are different types of custody. A mother has the right to ask the court for physical custody of her child. If a mother is granted physical custody, then she has the right to have the child live with her.
The mother has the right to make decisions in regards to the discipline and upbringing of her child when the mother is awarded legal custody.
The mother has shared rights and responsibilities with the father on decisions and custody of the children when the mother is granted joint custody.