Mother’s Rights

Understanding Mother Child Custody Rights in Michigan

When the father is suing for custody, what are a mother’s rights? Child custody cases are challenging to discuss in broad strokes, because every one revolves around the specific circumstances that the actual mother, father, and child live in. That said, there are some universals about a mother’s rights to her child — so let’s start there.

You’re The Mother

That, at least, cannot be changed by law. Paternity can be revoked in a few different ways, or it might never be established at all, but you, at least, are the mom. This means that you, by default, retain sole legal and physical custody of the child until a court says otherwise.

This means less than it once did, because the default court decision in cases where custody is contested is no longer “sole child custody for Moms” as it was a few decades ago. Today, the default is “joint custody for both parents,” with the child being shared (provided both parents are fit and willing to parent.) But until a judge actually writes that order, you keep full custody by default.

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Creating the Child Custody Schedule

Presuming that you do end up in a ‘joint custody’ situation, this means you’re going to have to work with the father to create a parenting schedule wherein you determine when which of you will have custody, visitation, and other contact with your child. While you don’t get anything you don’t fight for, you do have certain rights in this situation:

  • To interact with your child(ren) during the times the schedule allows,
  • To plan your activities during those times without the father’s input,
  • To be free from the father’s influence (including interruptions or threats) during visitation time,
  • To call the police if a custody order is being violated,
  • To petition the court if a custody order must be changed to compensate for changing life events, and
  • To obtain an injunction preventing the father from taking your child out-of-state without your permission.

If you feel like you’re being pressured into a child custody or visitation schedule that you aren’t going to be able to live with, call Gucciardo Family Law . We can act as a ‘mother’s rights lawyer’ to ensure that all parties at the table understand your perspective and your rights in the matter at hand.

Are There Different Mother’s Rights in Divorce Situations?

Yes and no. Divorced mothers’ rights are technically the same as the above list, but generally speaking, because the courts have seen an established parental relationship on the part of the father (presumably), they tend to lean even more strongly toward a shared-custody setup. Whereas a new father suing for custody might be asked to provide proof that he has supported the baby already (say, by paying for your medical expenses or buying necessary baby goods), an established father will generally be presumed supportive unless you go to some lengths to prove otherwise.

But as far as your actual rights as the mother go, they are fundamentally the same whether you are setting up a custody agreement due to divorce, or due to the child being born into an unmarried situation.