Working Moms Losing Custody Battles in Divorce

Posted by Swati on Nov 18, 2009 in Articles |

Hi all:

I wanted to share this sobering article from Working Mother Magazine with you.  It is about an emerging trend: women losing custody battles in divorce.  It may not surprise anyone to hear about the increasing number of women taking on the role of breadwinner for their families while their husbands stay home and manage the kids.  But there appears to be an after-shock if you land in divorce court.  After reading this, I have to ask, have women broken through glass ceilings and conquered careers only to lose custody of their children? I really, truly hope not. 

When I went through my divorce, I was resentful of having to completely support our household financially and do everything on the home-front plus child-rearing.  I was so exhausted.  After reading this article, I am thankful. 

My heart is breaking for Julie, the woman highlighted in this piece, titled “Custody Lost” by Sally Abrahms.  She was seeking joint custody and instead, her husband was awarded primary custody.

Let me know what you think after you take a read, the link is:

 -          Swati

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  • Jennifer says:

    Very frightening! There seem to be many out-of-whack policies in divorce. Some things are outdated now that women are in the workforce and NEED to be when they are single mothers as head of household. But this means losing parental rights?! Insane! Outrageous!

  • Swati says:

    Hi Jen:
    I know – I am so shocked this woman did not get joint custody!
    - Swati

  • AmyMusings says:

    Don’t hate me. But can I point out that a lot of my men friends lost custody of their kids and the wife got them because she is the mom. Meanwhile, in these cases, the dad was actually way better for the kids? Happened to my nephews. Their mom is mentally unstable. My brother-in-law remarried, a WONDERFUL woman. She can control the kids and they respect her and listen to her. She is Super Stepmom. It would be best for the boys if the dad got full custody but the kids didn’t get to go to the right people in this case. He barely got any custody and it was hard on the boys and their dad.

  • Swati says:

    Hi Amy,
    Thanks for your comment. I’m so sorry to hear about your nephews. You’re right, the injustices go both ways. I just don’t see why the judge didn’t do joint custody in both cases.
    Custody and visitation are separate – so assuming the divorce decree lays out visits for your nephews, they should be able to see their dad or their mother would be in violation of the agreement. I hope your brother-in-law pursues it.
    My best,
    Ps I welcome all points of view…

  • I have a friend who has a dead beat husband who stays home and does nothing while she is out earning a living for their family. He does not even manage to watch their child. Who knows what he does with his time? But she is afraid to divorce him because she could potentially owe major alimony, since she is the breadwinner of the family. Things get all mixed up sometimes. It totally sucks, esp. when you are doing the right thing by your family.

  • Swati says:

    Oh Naomi – I am so sorry to hear that. Of course your friend knows best what to do because she’s the one mired in it; but I can’t help myself to share one thought with her…3 years of alimony is probably worth it to get her life back…she’s a breadwinner and is capable of making it back. Quality of life is a huge price to pay. I traded our financial assets to get out of my divorce asap; and I haven’t regretted it.
    - Swati

  • Thank you for your comment @singlemommyhood, leading me here! Great site. (I was one of the founders of Literary Mama. Woo eee!).

    As you’ve pointed out, this custody issue is not black and white. I’ve done some research on this report recently, too.

    It’s great that fathers are taking a different road than many of their own fathers, and really taking part in their kids’ lives.

    Because courts are SO overwhelmed these days, it seems like it’s ideal for any divorcing couple to keep their negotiations OUT of court, and really keep their anger and sadness separate from what’s best for their children.

    I’m blown away by my friends who’ve gone for collaborative divorce and really remained amicable — and PRESENT for their kids.

  • Swati says:

    Thanks for that comment Single Mom Seeking (Rachel)…it’s great advice for anyone going through the process. My ex and I were not able to stay away from the courts and I so regret it.

  • Sheila says:

    Most of the stay-at-home fathers I know spend more time surfing the Net or watching TV and don’t bother to clean or pay as much attention to the hearth as a woman would. As someone I know once put it, women finally earned the right to work and what they got was two jobs, because men didn’t want the job of housekeeping but they sure liked having a woman make money. They all had some excuse like they were starting their own business or writing a paper or some such but the unstructured free time turned out to be so much of a temptation, and their multifunctioning ability so limited, that they ended up not doing anything well – not raising kids well, not finishing anything, just hanging out. Stay-at-home dad = slacker in least 80% of cases. The kids are NOT better off with these individuals because they do not learn the value of time or self-discipline.

  • Swati says:

    Thanks for your comment Sheila; I too can think of a few stay at home dad’s that fall into that horrible category. I do have one good friend whose husband I think does a good job as a stay at home dad. Why is that more rare? Is it just something innate? Or is it societal expectation and acceptance? I wonder.

    The kids lose out Very sad.


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