Does the mother get automatic custody of the children in divorce? 80 Answers as of August 13, 2012

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Evan Guthrie Law Firm
Evan Guthrie Law Firm | Evan Guthrie
In South Carolina the mother does not always get custody of children. The main test is best interest of the child, but there are other factors that come into play.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 6/22/2012
Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
No not automatic- yes you can counteract it depending on the facts and circumstances.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Replied: 6/20/2012
The Law Offices of Aubrey Harry Ducker Jr. PLC | Aubrey Harry Ducker, Jr.
No. There are NO AUTOMATICS with regard to children. An experienced attorney can best advise you on how to negotiate a compromise that meets your needs as well as those of your children. Collaborative Divorce may be a good option in your case, but it really depends on how well you and your ex-wife work together.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/18/2012
Kenneth A. Friedman, P.A.
Kenneth A. Friedman, P.A. | Kenneth A. Friedman
Neither parent automatically gets "custody" of the children in divorce. The courts now talk about parenting time, not custody, and are obligated to consider a number of factors to determine the best interests of the children before determining the parenting time for each parent. There are many fathers who have their children living with them now, but it is not automatic in any way.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 6/18/2012
John Russo | John Russo
Seems that way! But lets check your terms custody and placement are two very different things. I believe what you are asking is does the mom always get placement of the children. I known that most females will take exception to this but in the real world mom gets placement around 90% of the time, and I won't say that may not be the way to go. I am kind of old fashion and believe that young children with all things being equal need mom a little more in the early years, especially. With that being said that does not mean that fathers are not needed just as much. The question should be how do parents who for lack of a better term who don't like each other that much anymore suck it up when it comes to the children and work at sharing equally in their up bringing. But, to answer your question you can always move for placement of the kids, but unless mom has some big issues she will most likely receive placement. I know that is not what you wanted to hear but it's the real world. Remember a custody and placement battle only hurts the children when in the final standing both parents are good people who just can't agree anymore. Also, be wary of the lawyer who tells you I will get you the kids, again, if mom is a good mother.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 6/18/2012
    Darrell B. Reynolds, P.C. | Darrell B. Reynolds
    Both parents are entitled to custody of the minor children in an action for divorce. If the parties can not agree on the issue then a judge will decide which parent would have custody.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Offices of Pamela R. Lawson | Pamela R. Lawson, Esq.
    In Nevada, there is no gender preference. By Statute, it is presumed that it is in the best interests of the children that physical custody be joint; each parent has physical custody of the child or children one half of the time. (40% is considered half time as well).
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Gary A. Russell
    There is no automatic rule that the mother is awarded custody. Custody is determined by the courts (when the parties cannot agree themselves) by using the statutory best interest factors (there are twelve). The courts are supposed to only be concerned for the best interest of the child(ren). That being said, barring some reason to remove the child(ren) from the mother, infants and very young children often remain with the mother, with more time being given to the father as the child(ren) get older. Also, if the child is born out of wedlock and the parties have signed an Affidavit of Parentage (this would have to be signed for the father to be on the birth certificate) then the presumption is that the mother is the custodial parent. This presumption only remains until such time as the the father seeks a determination by the court on the issue of custody, which he is fully entitled to.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    No. In Texas, the Family code is specific, the Court may not consider the gender of the parent in deciding custody. Dad has an equal right and equal chance for custody. Custody is a dynamic process, it is ever moving, like a chess game, every fact (move) affects the outcome or next fact (move).
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Mike Yeksavich | Mike Yeksavich
    No. The Court decides custody and visitation based upon the best interests of the minor children.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Offices of Helene Ellenbogen, P.S.H | Helene Ellenbogen
    The law treats mothers and fathers the same. The mother does not automatically get custody. The law outlines a long list of criteria the court must take into consideration to determine how much time a child spends with each parent and how decision making authority is allocated.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    No, custody is based on the best interests of the child. Custody can be joint, or to one parent.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Office of Christine A. Gara | Christine A. Gara
    No , the mother does not automatically get custody. You can increase your changes of getting joint or sole custody by being an active, involved parent who the child looks to for everyday needs.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Palomino Law Firm, P.C.
    Palomino Law Firm, P.C. | Debra Palomino
    No, neither parent gets automatic custody of the children, many factors come into play.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Seth L. Reszko
    No. Mom does not get automatic custody and there is no presumption that mom gets custody. The courts will generally grant joint legal custody and whether one parent gets primary custody or a shared custody arrangement depends on what is in the best interests of the children. I would recommend retaining counsel on contested custody matters.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy | Robert W. Bellamy
    Depends on best interest of the child. If child is less tha 5 years of age, court prefers the wife but not always. it would be difficult for husband to get children if wife fights for custody, but not impossible.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf
    Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf | Sheryl S. Graf
    There is no gender preference in awarding primary custody of the children to one parent or the other. If the parents do not have an agreement on how they will share the children, then a judicial officer will make the decision based on the best interests of the children. The court will look at a variety of factors, including the existing custodial arrangements. To make sure that you are in the best possible position and get the best possible result, you should consult with an attorney who practices family law. You should meet with an attorney now. Advance planning now could save you a lot of money in the end.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    No. In Florida, the best interest of the children is almost the primary determination, and Fathers have equal rights with Mothers.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    NO. In Colorado, when the parents cannot agree, a judge will make the decision based on evaluating what is in the child's best interests.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Lombardi Law LLC
    Lombardi Law LLC | SUZANNE LOMBARDI
    In Alaska the presumption - or where the court starts from - is that each parent should have equal time with the child. So each parent will have 50% custody unless there is a reason why one or the other parent should not have custody. Another option is one parent has primary custody (more than 110 overnights) and the other parent has liberal visitation. To answer your question - No the mother does not get automatic custody of the children in a divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Alaska
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Office of Lenore Tsakanikas, PLLC
    Law Office of Lenore Tsakanikas, PLLC | Lenore Tsakanikas
    In Arizona, the Mother does not automatically get custody. If the parents are married, the Arizona Statutes are gender nuetral. If the child is born out of wedlock, the Mother has custody until paternity orders are issued addressing custody and visitation. In either case, it is presumed that joint legal custody and frequent contact with both parents is in the minor child's best interest.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    The Law Offices of Mandy J. McKellar
    The Law Offices of Mandy J. McKellar | Mandy J. McKellar
    No in the state of Nevada, both parties have equal rights when it comes to custodial placement of the children. This of course is barring any claims for domestic violence and abuse and neglect. If there has been a custody and divorce case filed then it is very important to be aggressive with your visitation rights especially if contact has been withheld. This usually requires hiring counsel who primarily practices in divorce and family law.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
    The law does not provide for automatic custody of the children. The court will apply the standard of what is in the "best interests" of the children to determine who should have primary custody. You should consult a family law attorney about how to best present your request for custody.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    No, there is no such thing as automatic custody due to a parent's gender. Custody determinations are made by a judge based on the "children's best interests." Best to call a local family law lawyer to learn your rights.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    No she does not get automatic custody. But you will need to fight this.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Willick Law Group
    Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
    There is no gender preference in Nevada custody law.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Hynum Law Office, LLC
    Hynum Law Office, LLC | G. Wayne Hynum
    The mother does not get automatic custody of the child. The Judge is supposed to make a decision based primarily on what are the best interests of the child. Sometimes that means the mother gets custody, but other times it means the father gets custody. As a practical matter however, the mother gets custody more often than the father, but part of the reason for that is most fathers do not try to get custody. If a father wants custody the short answer is he needs to prove that the child would be better off living with him instead of the mother. There are certain factors the Judge considers in making that determination which any good lawyer is familiar with.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Office
    Law Office | Timothy J. Lopez
    The short answer is "no." Typically, all things being equal and there being no bad actors in the relationship and no restraining orders in place, the parents have joint physical and legal custody.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Attorney at Law | Steven E. Ferguson
    Custody of children is not automatically placed with mother; the judge may divide custody and physical time between the parents or place the child with one and give visitation to the other. The governing principle is to act in the best interests of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    No the mother does not automatically get custody. The court looks at what is in the best interest of the child and nowadays, that does not allows equate to being the mother.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    No. The standard is the best interest of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Custody is not automatic. Custody depends on a number of statutory factors. Consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Office of Lynda H. LeBlanc | Lynda Leblanc
    Mothers do not get automatic custody. However, the is to make custody decisions based upon the best interests of the children, and one of the factors is who has been the primary caregiver for the children throughout the marriage. In our society, that is usually the mom. It is possible for a father to get custody, but it is an uphill battle in most cases. Your best chance is with a good lawyer and a good guardian ad litem (an attorney or mental health professional that represents the children's best interests).
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Varadi, Hair & Checki, LLC
    Varadi, Hair & Checki, LLC | Galen M. Hair
    In Louisiana, there is no "automatic custody." Typically, custody is awarded in a manner in which the "best interest of the child" is taken into account. With that said, some courts may be hesitant to award custody in a manner in which the mother has none. There are exceptions to this and ways to affect the outcome of a custody determination. A lawyer is usually needed in order to fully understand the potential tools at your disposal.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Office of Jonathan B. Eadie, PLLC
    Law Office of Jonathan B. Eadie, PLLC | Jonathan B. Eadie
    The mother does not automatically get custody of the child/children in a divorce case. The court has 12 factors they weigh in determining what is in the best interest of the children when making a custody determination. If you wish to pursue custody of your minor children it is important that you consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Ezim Law Firm | Dean Esposito
    No she does not. The court uses 12 factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    No one has automatic custody. You must go to court to get orders to establish the parenting plan.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    No mom doesn't have better rights in a divorce. Both parents are presumed to be able to have joint custody and placement of the children.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    No. Custody determinations are made based on a best interests of the child standard. It its considerations, the court must address 13 factors under Minnesota Statutes. It may also consider any other relevant evidence. As a result, understanding your statutes andits burdens is critical in presenting an effective case. You should retain legal counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Office of James Bordonaro
    Law Office of James Bordonaro | James Albert Bordonaro
    The is no preference for gender in a custody action.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Ryan Berman, Esq | Ryan Berman
    No. You can fight for custody. The "best interest factors" control.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C.
    James T. Weiner & Associates, P.C. | James T. Weiner
    No.. child custody decisions are made in the best interests of the children. Actually if a father has a sincere desire to have custody the father will usually get a minimum of joint physical custody.. more if he pushes it. but alas.. most fathers try to trade off their kids for more money so they use the children as bargaining chips.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/15/2012
    Law Offices of Tobie B. Waxman
    Law Offices of Tobie B. Waxman | Tobie B. Waxman
    Neither parent is "automatically" given custody of the children. The decision as to who gets physical custody is based on what is in the best interests of the children. Many factors go into this decision such as who was the primary care taker during the marriage, frequent and continuing contact with the children by both parents, who is better able to provide for the needs (not financial) of the children, etc.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/13/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    No, the mother does not get automatic custody of the children in divorce. We call it time sharing. Yes, you can strengthen your chances of gaining more time sharing by hiring an assertive family law attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Anderson & Boback | Janice L Boback
    Mothers do not get automatic custody in a divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    No. The person with the best, strongest, most stable relationship becomes primary caretaker if that's in the kids best interest.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    NO. Custody is the most complex, and most difficult and important issue in a divorce. To handle it properly you need good and experienced counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    No - nothing is automatic in a divorce. The person who has historically been the children's "primary parent" is generally the person who gets "primary custody" of the children. If your wife was your children's primary parent, it will take evidence which demonstrates to the Court that it would be in the children's best interest to give you their primary custody (such as your wife's inattentiveness, lack of proper care of the children, drug use, alcoholism, or other significant problem, and your appropriate conduct and care of the children). You would best retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to represent you if you are seeking primary custody of your children.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    H. Scott Basham, Attorney at Law, P.C. | H. Scott Basham
    The standard is whatever is in the best interests of the children.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Attorney At Law | Harry D. Roth
    Not in California. Custody of children is awarded based on the best interests of the children. Most judges look to who was taking care of the children before the break-up to decide who will do so afterwords.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    There is no presumption that one parent or the other will receive legal custody or be designated as the primary parent; in fact, the statute is specifically "gender blind." The court must make orders that are in the best interests of the children based on a list of statutory factors. In my experience, the starting point is "joint legal custody," and the courts seem to like substantially equal parenting time, so long as both parents are fit and have historically involved in the child-related responsibilities. I recommend you speak with an attorney regarding your specific situation so you can determine your best course of action.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins
    The Law Offices of Dave Hawkins | Dave Hawkins
    NO. The Primary custodial parent is chosen on the basis of what is in the child's best interests.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    No, I mother does not get automatic custody. It is the policy of California for both parents to have time with the minor children.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Attorney at Law | John P. Rivers
    There is no longer a presumption in the law that custody of a child should be awarded to the mother in a divorce action. The court will make the decision based upon the best interests of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
    No, a mother does not get automatic custody of the children unless you are not deemed the father. The court looks at the best interest of the children.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Barbara Fontaine, Esquire | Barbara Fontaine
    There is no automatic custody preference. The court determines what is best for the children.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Alvin Lundgren | Alvin Lundgren
    Under recent Utah law there is no preference for custody. Each parent is evaluated independently.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    The Law Office of Erin Farley
    The Law Office of Erin Farley | Erin Farley
    Custody is determined based upon what is best for the child or children involved. There is no longer any favoritism toward Moms; in fact, many courts are moving toward an almost automatic 50/50 split between parents. To counteract any negative custody determinations, you need to show up and be a responsible and loving parent to your kids.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Swann-Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC
    Swann-Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC | Elizabeth Swann
    No. Custody has many factors before it is determined.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    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. It is generally joint custody and the time share should be based upon what is best for the minor children.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    The Jordan Law Firm
    The Jordan Law Firm | John Paul Jordan
    No normally if both parents are decent parents joint custody is involved. The factors that affect this are living conditions, ages of the kids, drugs abuse, domestic violence. etc. There is no base line that says "Mom" gets the kids.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Law Offices of F. Richard Ricketts, PLLC
    Law Offices of F. Richard Ricketts, PLLC | F. Richard Ricketts
    Perhaps the single most erroneous urban myth that I hear regularly is that Washington is a mother's state and men have no rights or say in parenting plans. This could not be farther from the truth. Inevitably when I hear this, the reason why the guy is feeling this way is because the guy is doing things or has done things which present a reasonable risk to the child(ren). Parenting plans in Washington are based on these factors: (i) The relative strength, nature, and stability of the child's relationship with each parent; (ii) The agreements of the parties, provided they were entered into knowingly and voluntarily; (iii) Each parent's past and potential for future performance of parenting functions as defined in *RCW 26.09.004 (3), including whether a parent has taken greater responsibility for performing parenting functions relating to the daily needs of the child; (iv) The emotional needs and developmental level of the child; (v) The child's relationship with siblings and with other significant adults, as well as the child's involvement with his or her physical surroundings, school, or other significant activities; (vi) The wishes of the parents and the wishes of a child who is sufficiently mature to express reasoned and independent preferences as to his or her residential schedule; and (vii) Each parent's employment schedule, and shall make accommodations consistent with those schedules. Factor (i) shall be given the greatest weight. The court is mandated to assess each parent for each factor. The best way to ensure that you have a say in this process is to not do anything that can be considered harmful to your child, be involved in your child's life and do everything within your power to be a good parent, so that when the Judge makes the analysis, there are ample reasons to look upon you favorably.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Samwel Cousineau &Shea, PC
    Samwel Cousineau &Shea, PC | Kirsten A. Samwel
    The mother often gets custody, but not automatically. Custody is based on the best interests of the children.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Robert J. Merlin, P.A.
    Robert J. Merlin, P.A. | Robert J. Merlin
    Absolutely not. Both parents generally have equal rights to the children. The amount of time each parent spends with the children will depend upon the specific facts of your case, primarily what is in the children's best interest.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Mary W Craig P.C. | Mary W Craig
    A mother does not automatically get custody of the children in a divorce, especially if the father has evidence that the mother is unfit. However, the key word is "evidence," and simply stating in court that she's not a good mother will not be sufficient.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
    Absolutely not.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Law Offices of Dan Peelman | Dan Peelman
    Absolutely not! The court will look at the best interests of the child(ren) in determining custody. Gender is not a valid factor in determining which spouse is awarded custody.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr.
    Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr. | John F. Geraghty, Jr.
    This is not always the case and it depends on many factors that make up the best interest of the children.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Weinpel Law Office, P.C. | Marc Weinpel
    There is NO presumption in Idaho that the mother will be awarded custody. There is a presumption that JOINT legal and physical custody is in the children's best interest. Primary physical custody of the children is decided after the Court considers various factors including the wishes of the parents, wishes of the children and how each parent interacts with the children. There are other factors which consider the best interest of the children.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Gregory C. Graf
    Gregory C. Graf | Gregory C. Graf
    No she doesn't and yes you can.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    441 Legal Group, Inc.
    441 Legal Group, Inc. | Gareth H. Bullock
    No she doesn't get it automatically.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/14/2012
    Vasilkovs Law Office | Donna Vasilkovs
    No. The court considers who has been the primary caretaker of the children, who is in the best position to have custody, whether joint custody is acceptable/workable, any criminal conduct on the part of either parent, and the best interests of the children, among other things, in making their rulings on this issue.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/14/2012
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