Custodial Challenged Mothers

The issue of child custody is often the most hotly-contested one in divorce cases. Not only because children are important, and perhaps the most important result from any marriage, but also because having custody of the kids equals more money from the non-custodial parent. We hate to point out the financial part of custody but we must be realists. Child custody and child support are linked together in the family law system.

Both anecdotal and empirical evidence show that women more often than men are awarded primary custody of children by the courts. Throughout history, the role of child caretaker has always been deemed “women’s work”, and that hasn’t changed over the past few thousand years. However, one author suggests that the reason more men don’t have primary custody of their children is because they don’t ask for it, or fight for it, and when they do, they are awarded it by the courts 70% of the time.

“Mothers on Trial – the Battle for Children and Custody” by Phyllis Chesler is the book that makes this claim. Originally published in 1986, this work has been updated for the 21st Century on its 25th anniversary. It is an historical overview of divorce and custody. Ms. Chesler writes extensively about the characteristics of women who are challenged for custody and the deep-pocketed, scorch-the-earth tactics of the men who pose the challenges. She questions why society is quick to glorify the custodial fathers and condemn the non-custodial mothers.

She discusses the traumas that many custodial mothers endure when faced with single-parenthood and dwindling resources, and the resulting effects that come off as shrill histrionics that end-up alienating judges, custody evaluators and even their own attorneys. And finally, Ms. Chesler tells the stories of so many women who have lost custody of their kids to ex-husbands who never really showed any great interest in parenting during the course of married life but who fought bitter and lengthy battles to win custody upon divorce. It’s an interesting read on the subject of parental alienation that has played a huge part in the Men’s Rights movement.

If you are currently embroiled in a child custody fight, or you are thinking about divorce but are uncertain about the child custody and support issues, you need to consult a family law attorney to discuss your options. While it is true that courts are often willing to award primary physical and legal custody of children to the mother, it’s also true that the courts want to focus on what’s best for the children. You need to select an advocate who understands the child custody evaluation process to help you through it, and who isn’t shy to work with other professionals to ensure your children come first when you’re dissolving the union from which they came.


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