Primary child custody has historically been awarded to mothers in divorce cases due to "maternal preference," or the notion that mothers raised children best, not fathers.
Societal Shifts Change Custody
Angered by the idea that they wouldn't be a part of their children's lives, fathers' rights groups challenged the preference, and advocated for change. Societal shifts led to more women entering the workforce full time; and, an increasing number of males became primary caregivers, which helped to rid the court system of its maternal preference.
Working Moms and Custody
In the event of divorce, working mothers can be faced with the possibility of losing physical custody of their children. This can be very scary, but with the right representation, it doesn't have to be. An experienced matrimonial and family law attorney will be able to effectively advocate on their client's behalf to ensure that they maintain custody of their children while still having a thriving career.
Just because a mother works full time doesn't mean she will lose custody of her children. New York state has two different forms of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Both forms of custody can be sole or joint, meaning either one or both parents can have either or both of these legal rights. Custody is determined based upon what is in the best interest of the children, which means the primary caregiver will usually be awarded physical custody. Mothers with full time jobs are still considered primary caregivers if they spend more time raising their children than their spouses.
Stay-at-home mothers should not assume that they will be awarded primary custody of their children. While there is a greater chance this will happen, it is best to prepare for all possible curveballs your ex-spouse will throw at you throughout the divorce. Custody battles are intense situations where emotions run high, and it is common for a father to falsely accuse his wife of being an unfit parent. Controlling or especially angry spouses often use this intimidation method during highly contested actions.
If you're a stay-at-home mom and find yourself in the midst of a tough child custody battle, you need to contact a New York family law attorney immediately to protect the rights of you and your children. Children will cope with divorce more efficiently if their normal, day-to-day life is kept intact. The best way accomplish this is to ensure that you maintain residential custody of your children. Brian D. Perskin & Associates, P.C. can help you achieve this goal.
Alimony and Child Support
All custodial parents, whether male or female, have the right to receive child support and alimony payments from their former spouse. The amount of support awarded depends on how much money was earned during the marriage, the duration of the marriage, and the kind of lifestyle the family was accustomed to throughout the union. Angry fathers commonly threaten to withhold child support or alimony payments in retaliation for having a custody and/or divorce petition filed against them.
Mothers, whether employed or not, should never allow the fathers of their children to bully them in this manner. Children should be a top priority in divorce and custody actions, and that includes child support. Sufficient support payments, as determined by law, allow the custodial parent to pay expenses related to child rearing. It is illegal for a non-custodial father to withhold child support payments, and if this happens, you will need an attorney to file an enforcement petition on your behalf.
Representation for the Long Haul
Unfortunately, divorce, child custody, and/or child support cases don't always end once a judgment is issued. Many non-custodial fathers will refuse to abide by the terms of their child support order, and the mother will be forced to take swift action. A petition requesting the courts to enforce a child support order will need to be filed immediately. The attorneys at Brian D. Perskin & Associates, P.C. have a long history of expertly filing enforcement petitions and successfully securing the stipulations outlined in their clients' divorce, custody, and support orders.
For more information on mothers' rights in New York City, contact our law firm to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.