Does the mother automatically get custody of the child until divorce is settled? 62 Answers as of May 29, 2013

We are going through a divorce. I want to know if I have an advantage being a mother for our child's custody.

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Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
No- a mother does not get automatic custody- both parties have a right to custody and unless the court enters an Order giving one party primary custodial rights during the pendance of the divorce, neither party has more rights than the other to custody. Custody depends on a number of facts and circumstances.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 7/20/2012
Perez-Jenkins Law, LLC | Patricia Perez-Jenkins
No, a mother does not automatically get custody of the child until the divorce is settled. In MN it is presumed that both parents are required for the well being of the children. There are certain exceptions but those would need to be discussed with an attorney and would need to be proven.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 7/20/2012
Law Offices of Ward F. McDonough, Jr. | Ward F. McDonough, Jr.
NO. History and presumptions have indicated that the mother has some added advantage to getting custody but there are Custody Guidelines that the Court would have to consider in determining who gets the kids. Some of these facts are whether one or both the parents work; the age of the children; whether the children are in school or have any special needs, and many more factors.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/20/2012
John Russo | John Russo
Seems that way! 1st you are using the wrong term it is Placement not Custody: Custody does not determine where the children will resided. With all things being equal Mom does get placement the majority of the time. Fairness is an other issue.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 7/19/2012
Law Office of Lenore Tsakanikas, PLLC
Law Office of Lenore Tsakanikas, PLLC | Lenore Tsakanikas
In Arizona, the mother does not automatically get custody. The Court can enter temporary orders while a divorce is pending and the Court considers a number of factors to determine what is in the best interest of any minor children. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 7/19/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    No, there is no advantage to being the mother. The advantage will go to the parent who has provided the primary custodial responsibilities since the child was born.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    NOLAN LAW LLC | Joshua J. Nolan
    A mother does not automatically receive custody of a child while a divorce is pending. The court allocates custody based upon the best interests of the child, placing the child with the parent who is best able to care for the child's needs. That being said, many jurisdictions around Ohio still have an unstated bias for granting custody to mothers. That is in large part because mothers are often the primary caregivers for their children. Thus, although there may not necessarily be a legal advantage, mothers often enjoy a practical advantage in custody disputes.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Law Offices of Maryanne Spryszak-Hanna PC | Maryanne Spryszak-Hanna
    Not necessarily. There are many factors the court considers when awarding even an ex parte ot temporary order of custody.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Absolutely not; that said, the parent who has been the primary caretaker often gets the children the majority of the time and that's often the Mother.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    THE LOCKHART LAW FIRM | CLAYTON LOCKHART
    While it is generally perceived that the mother will get custody, there is nothing in the law that grants a mother automatic custody of the children. Unless one of the parents is in a particular situation where he/she would not be able to get custody, both parents are deemed to be equally fit to have custody and the Court's duty is to place the children into the custody of the parent that it deems best fit based upon the best interests of the children.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Law Offices of Marshall R. Hoekel, LLC | Marshall Hoekel
    No. Although in most cases the mother will have primary custody.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins
    The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins | Dave Hawkins
    No. The mother does not automatically get custody of the child. The court makes it's determination on what is in the child's best interests and neither parent has an advantage based upon gender.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Smith Hood Bigman
    Smith Hood Bigman | Horace Smith
    The short answer is no. Florida law treats parents as equals and no advantage is given to either spouse due to gender. The court looks to the best interest of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Peacock Law Group of the Lowcountry, LLC | Richard Peacock
    In South Carolina, what you are referring to is known as the "Tender Years" doctrine. It was abolished by law many years ago. Therefore, there is no presumption that a mother should have custody of the child. In South Carolina, the mother does not automatically get custody of the child. The only way any parent gets custody of a child in these situations is by a Court Order (Temporary, Final or otherwise). There is no inherent "advantage" to being the mother or the father of a child in South Carolina. It would be wise to seek legal counsel in regards to these matters.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 7/19/2012
    Austin Hirschhorn, P.C.
    Austin Hirschhorn, P.C. | Austin Hirschhorn
    It is customary that if the mother files for divorce and is the primary custodian of a young child that as part of the request for relief in the case that is she ask for primary custody of the child. If the spouse contests the divorce and in his response to the complaint contests the mothers request for primary custody, the judge would have the obligation to look into the family circumstances and made a determination consistent with the best interests of the child. Most judges feel that the best interests of young children (both male and female) are better served if the mother has primary custody. It is also the common practice of most family court judges to award joint legal custody so that the father participate in important decisions in the upbringing of the children such as medical treatment, education, religious issues, and other important decisions regarding the child.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Evan Guthrie Law Firm
    Evan Guthrie Law Firm | Evan Guthrie
    In South Carolina the test used for custody is best interest of the child and the mother is not presumed to always be the best parent.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Nwokoye Law Firm
    Nwokoye Law Firm | Violet Nwokoye
    The direct answer to your question is no. The courts are mandated to consider "The best interest of a child" when considering child custody cases among other factors. The mere fact that you are the mother of the child and not the father is not a factor.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/16/2012
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    The days of mother automatically having custody of the child in a divorce are long gone. Usually one parent is the obvious custodian (normally the one who stays in the house). But in cases where it is not obvious then there can be quite a war to decide the issue if both parties have the money to sustain the war. Please soncult with a Family Law Attorney to have your questions more fully answered.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Kevin Bessant
    Kevin Bessant | Kevin Bessant
    A mother does not "automatically" gain custody of the children. During a divorce, if the the issue of child custody is not settled upon between the parties, the Judge has to determine the best interests of the child/children to determine who will gain physical custody of the children during a divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 5/29/2013
    Law Offices of Brian J. Lockwood
    Law Offices of Brian J. Lockwood | Brian J. Lockwoood
    Yes. Temporary orders can be obtained. The process is somewhat complicated, so I suggest hiring an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    Custody/parenting time arrangements are made "in the best interests of the child." This is not based on mother vs. father - there is a list of factors that the court must consider in making the decision. I recommend you speak with an attorney about the details of your situation so you can determine your best course of action.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    Not under current law.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    Both parties are entitle to custody of a minor child until an order is issued by the court.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Attorney At Law | Harry D. Roth
    Automatically? No. Most of the time? Yes. Look at your situation now. Who takes care of the children most of the time? To whom do the children run when they have issues? That will be the parent who is most likely to receive custody. Most of the time, that is Mom. But being Mom is not why. It is because of who is the main care provider for the children.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    The child's placement will always be with the parent that does the day to day care taking of the child.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Law Office of Rhonda Ellifritz | Rhonda Ellifritz
    The primary caretaker during the marriage usually has the advantage, which is not necessarily the mother, but often is. There are other factors the courts consider, so to ensure the best possible outcome, you should retain an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Maskell Law Firm, P.C.
    Maskell Law Firm, P.C. | Eric A. Maskell
    No. The Court determines custody based on the best interests of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/16/2012
    Law Offices of Jayson A. Soobitsky, P.A. | Jayson A. Soobitsky
    In Maryland there is no legal advantage to getting custody of a child because you are the mother. In cases where both parents are fit and proper parents to have custody of a child the court still tends to favor the mother when the child is a new born.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    Depending upon the age of the child and the other factors related to fitness, the court may find it in the best interests of the child to be with the mother on a temporary basis until the issues are fully heard in court.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Burnett Evans Banks
    Burnett Evans Banks | Paul Evans
    There really is no advantage for custody based upon gender in Missouri. The law states: "No preference may be given to either parent in the awarding of custody because of that parent's age, sex, or financial status, nor because of the age or sex of the child." The advantage goes to the primary caregiver of the child (in cases where one parent has been more "nuturing" that the other). In my experience this is often the mother, especially with very young infants (but certainly not always). While the dissolution action is pending, the law states that "neither parent shall remove any child from the jurisdiction of the court or from any parent with whom the child has primarily resided for the sixty days immediately preceding the filing of a petition for dissolution of marriage..." Possession, however, is not the same as nuturing and caregiving. The Missouri statute goes on to say: "The mere fact that one parent has actual possession of the child at the time of filing shall not create a preference in favor of such parent in any judicial determination regarding custody of the child." If you have concerns about retaining custody, it would be wise to speak with a qualified attorney about your specific situation.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc.
    Wolfstone, Panchot & Bloch, P.S., Inc. | Mark Brown
    Gender, in and of itself, is not a factor under the law.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Ezim Law Firm | Dean Esposito
    The mere fact that you are the mother does not give you an advantage. There are several factors that may give you and advantage such as the age of the child (i.e. infant who is breastfeeding), your work schedule, father's work schedule and rearing and caring of the child previously exercised by the mother and father.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    No. If the parents were married when the child was born, each parent has an equal right to custody until a divorce is concluded. Neither party, father or mother, has a greater right and custody decisions are ultimately made based on what a court believes to be in the child's best interests.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Blough Law Office | Janis L. Blough
    Neither party has an advantage automatically regarding child custody. MI courts now use "conciliation" which is an initial meeting with a Friend of the Court staff person unless the parties agree in advance. The standard is the best interests of the child(ren) and there are a number of factors that are addressed in that regard. If you can work out some temporary arrangement that works for the kids' schedules as well as yours, that is usually the best, but you need the advice of experienced counsel because the Friend of the Court won't give you any legal advice. Good Luck!
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    It is not called custody in Florida, it is now time sharing. No, a mother does not automatically get the child.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
    Not necessarily. File a motion for custody/parenting orders. You will be sent to family court services mediation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    Possibly, but not necessarily. If you have been the children's primary parent since birth, you may receive primary physical custody of the children. If both parents have actively participated in the children's lives, the Court may award joint physical custody to both parties, either 50/50, or in other proportions. It is best for the children and the parties if the parties work out a timeshare that will provide both parents frequent and continuing contact with the children. If you can't work out an arrangement between yourselves, the Court will require you to mediate child custody, with a view to resolving the custodial timeshare issues without the need for Court intervention. A Court Hearing should be the last resort to resolve child custody disputes, because the Judge's decision may not please either party, and the adversary nature of a Court Hearing could further damage the parties' relationship with each other and make it more difficult for the parties to co-parent the children. Typically, Legal custody relates to the power to make important decisions about the children's health, education and welfare. Courts have usually awarded joint legal custody to both parties unless the particular facts of the case drive the decision otherwise.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Weinpel Law Office, P.C. | Marc Weinpel
    There is no "gender" preferences in custody decisions in Idaho.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Law Office of Christine A. Gara | Christine A. Gara
    A mother does not automatically get custody of the child(ren) until the divorce is finalized by entry of a Judgment of Divorce. Whether you have an advantage getting custody depends on your individual circumstances.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Lombardi Law LLC
    Lombardi Law LLC | SUZANNE LOMBARDI
    In Alaska there is no "tender years" doctrine. This means that a child that is young does not necessarily go to the mother for custody. The court looks at a number of different factors which are called the best interests of the child. You would have to prove that it is in your child's best interest for you to have custody. An attorney can go over the best interest factors with you to help you prove to the court that primary custody should be or remain with you. Primary custody means you have the child the majority of the time (110 overnights) and your husband has visitation rights.
    Answer Applies to: Alaska
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    No one automatically gets custody. It is up to the judge to decide if the custody and visitation will be shared and how much time e ach party will ha ve with the children. That will be based on a nuumber of factors but the judge is to decide what is best for the child or children.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Attorney at Law | Aimee C. Robbins
    No it is not automatic. Custody is based on the fitness of each parent and the best interests of the minor child.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    No. If the parents can't agree to a suitable parenting plan pending final settlement, the court can conduct a temporary orders hearing to decide an interim plan.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    No.. The standard is the best interests of the children.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Snake River Law PLLC
    Snake River Law PLLC | Mark Petersen
    No. The mother does not "automatically" get custody of the children. Custody of children is determined as to the child's best interests which could result in either parent having custody of a child during a divorce proceeding.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/18/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    No. There is no rule that the mother gets temporary custody pending a court order.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    The Law Firm of Sarver & Guard, LLC
    The Law Firm of Sarver & Guard, LLC | Lauren Sarver
    Louisiana courts prefer joint custody by both parents. Moms are not supposed to get any preference over the dad. Custody is based on the best interests of the child which are set of nonexclusive factors mandated by statute. The court weighs the factors for both parents and determines custody that way. Unless one of the parents has some serious problems, usually the courts are going to go for joint custody.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Gary A. Russell
    There is no presumption under the law that the mother is the custodial parent. That was an unofficial presumption for many years, which may or may not continue to be practiced by many judges. Except for new borns and infant children, many courts are approaching custody with the idea that both parents are fit to have custody, unless there is shown some reason for why they should not. But old habits do die hard.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    The Law Offices of Jill Puertas LLC | Jill Puertas
    In the state of Missouri, custody is determined according to the best interest of the child standard. Therefore, no, a mother does not automatically get custody of the children. The Judge will consider numerous factors before determining what is in the child's best interest.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Law Offices of Helene Ellenbogen, P.S.H | Helene Ellenbogen
    No. Each parent is treated equally in determining the child's residential schedule and decision making authority (custody is not really at issue in WA). How the residential schedule is determined is based on a long list of criteria outlined in the statute.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Officially no, actually yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    No, the mother does not automatically get primary custody of the children.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Law Office of Bernal Peter Ojeda | Bernal Peter Ojeda
    No.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/29/2013
    Goddard Wetherall Wonder, PSC
    Goddard Wetherall Wonder, PSC | Brook Goddard
    Mothers do not automatically get custody of children in dissolution proceedings, even temporarily while the proceedings are waiting for trial. The statutes are gender neutral. That being said, there are always very strong arguments that can be made in favor of the mother.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Robert J. Merlin, P.A.
    Robert J. Merlin, P.A. | Robert J. Merlin
    Legally, both the mother and the father have equal rights to the children. What will ultimately happen should depend upon the facts of your case. Look at the factors in Florida Statutes Section 61.13 for the criteria that the judge will be required to follow.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Law Office of Angela M. Riccio | Angela M. Riccio
    In Illinois, both parents are considered proper parents to have the custody of their child; neither is more favored than the other. However, either party may file petitions seeking temporary and then permanent custody of a child.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Posternak Blankstein & Lund, LLP | Michael Eliot Rubin
    It is not automatic.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/17/2012
    Haskell Law Firm | Lori Haskell
    No. Each case is different, but there is no automatic about it.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/17/2012
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