Here Are Some Reasons Mothers May Lose Custody of Their Children In Maryland

1. Physical Abuse Against Children

Take heed!  Mothers are much more likely to abuse their children than fathers.  The U.S. Department of Health conducted a study from 2001 through 2006 regarding children victims of abuse – by the identity of the perpetrator.  Here’s the results:

It appears that mothers are more than twice as likely to abuse their children, and twice as likely to cause the death of their child than are fathers.

There was a recent study in 2019 conducted by George Washington University under the guidance of clinical law professor Joan Meier which included 4,388 case studies where one parent reported child abuse by the other parent.  When women reported abuse they won custody 72% of the time, but when fathers claimed child abuse by the other, fathers won custody 88% of the time.  If you are seeking custody of your children and their mother abuses the children, get evidence and make the abuse central in your custody case.

2. Emotional Abuse

Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse is hard to prove but can be a significant reason mothers lose child custody. Proving emotional abuse is hard, but if you take the time to learn what emotional abuse is, then it will be easier.

  • Gaslighting
  • Overly Critical – nothing is good enough
  • Withholding approval. Nothing the child does is good enough.
  • Insults or demeans the child, especially in front of others.
  • Overly restrictive and will not allow privacy
  • Withholding food or shelter
  • Blaming the child for felling bad or sad or something negative
  • Silent treatment.If your child’s mother engages these behaviors, and you want custody, it is worth our while to document these events in a journal. Identify the behaviors. Become familiar with them.  Understand what the behavior actually does to your child. Document the behavior by date, time and place.  Express your thoughts.  Journal the reaction of your child.  Handwritten journals are convincing evidence.

3. Child Neglect

Neglecting children can be a severe ground for any mother to lose custody of her children. Judges also realize that there could be no perfect parent but negligence in the child’s health, safety, education, or general welfare. If any mothers are careless in providing basic needs like food, shelter, clothing, and education, there are most chances for the mother to lose child custody. Again, document the neglect by date, time and place.  If there are witnesses – discuss the neglect with them. Collect the witness’s name and contact information.

4. Parental Alienation

Parental alienation occurs when one parent manipulates the child against the other parent. You most often see parental alienation when the alienator harbors a lot of resentment and anger toward the other parent. The alienator may try to discredit the other parent by telling the child that the parent is bad, or does not want to see them.  The alienator often blames the other parent for breaking up the family. The alienator tries to get the child to side with that parent against the other.  Parental alienation is very dangerous and hard to stop.  If the mother is showing any of these signs, intervention is needed.  Understanding how to react in alienation situations can save you and your child a lot of grief.

5. “Malicious Mother Syndrome”

Malicious mother syndrome is not a recognized mental illness, rather it is a phenomenon that is most often associated with high conflict divorces.  The syndrome is characterized by four major criteria

  • The mother attempts to punish the father by alientating the children from the father
  • Mother denies access to the children
  • Mother lies to the children about the father
  • Mother does not suffer from any mental disorders, in other words, there is no excuse

Again, these things are hard to prove, but can be if you diligently document everything, do not engage retaliatory behaviors, and do not involve the children on any discussion regarding their mother.

We Can Help

Our practice is primarily family law. And we have decades of experience. We know our judges, we know our court system. We can help you assemble a plan. We can help you understand what you can do in your circumstances, no matter where you are in the divorce or custody process. If you are involved in a situation where there is abuse and you want to begin to make your plan, are ready to consult with an attorney, or just need some questions answered, contact us here, go online to schedule an appointment, or call us at (301) 962-2492 to set up an initial consultation.