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Gentle treatment of a painful subject. I'm a non-custodial mother; I went voluntarily from 12 years of SAHM, the last two in shared custody (I write about my experience in Mothering From Afar, my column at Literary Mama) to a one-or-twice yearly visit. People have little understanding of the dynamic unless they've experienced it, but I believe that the idea of a mother giving up her children is painful for many. It brings up questions about their own identities, questions they may prefer to remain unasked. I've received mostly wholehearted support but also a fair amount of vitriol and judgment. It's just not within the spectrum of what most people think of as "normal" and "reasonable" to find that sometimes it can be better for kids (and their moms) to be raised by someone other than their mothers.I still find this painful; it's been less than a year and we're still working out what this new family dynamic is going to look like. I suspect it may always be a work in progress, and while my story may be similar ("Mother Chooses Not to Parent her Children") to the stories of so many other women, the details for each of us will remain personal and unique, even when society paints us with a broad brush.Thanks again for the way you approached this sensitive subject.
Perhaps abusive mothers are in the minority, numerically - but I've been on the other side of the table, raising a child that at 11 yrs old, wanted to live with her uncle and his wife because her mother was abusive. We used to get phone calls at 3 a.m., accusing us of stealing her child, threatening us unless we let her keep the child's social security payment for the deceased father, and generally being a huge stressor. The child now, at 18, is: bulemic, a compulsive liar, a thief, violent with family members, never shows remorse, and incredibly lazy. I don't think that it's all the mother's fault, but if I had it to do over again, I'd just let the court system take the child.
This article is well written, covering a very difficult subject. I wondered if in the larger research, non-custodial disabled mothers were interviewed? in the work that i do, I have come across this situation too often. there is an assumption that no matter how independent a disabled woman is, the able-bodied parent is preferred by the courts. Further, there is a lack of accessibly built family housing to support parenting and custody. I would be interested in your experience with these non-custodial mothers.
Great point, Jewelles, thanks for bringing this up. Would love to hear more about it!!
From another non-custodial mother. Great article. My case was a little different still because ours was an international relocation case and there was some measure of nationality bias. The native father was granted primary custody over me despite the fact that I offered a more stable family life, ergo, a husband and another child and I work from home. The court-appointed psychologist who interviewed us perceived friction and jealousy in their relationship, which, to my mind, is normal sibling rivalry. He also seemed to pity the father who would be left "all alone" (he is an unmarried restaurant and bar owner) after his kids left the country with their mother and made his decision accordingly. We were given joint legal and physical custody but primary residence at the father's home.The paragraph about the children's perspective is extremely important. It was very difficult for them to have to answer questions about why their mother "took off". My daughter and son both faced that problem, regardless of how many times I would visit, show up at their school, see their friends. I also feel that bias at their school. One of my daughter’s teachers recently advised her father during a parent-teacher meeting to not allow my daughter to travel to the US to visit her mother over winter break because she came back “distracted”. I guess they don’t attach much value to children spending time with their mother, or perhaps it would be a proper “punishment” for my having moved away.Anyway, the article struck a chord. Thanks.
I think you did an AWESOME job covering the subject and KUDDOs to you!I was a non-custodial mother not by choice about 13 years ago and had to do my best to "mother from afar."What has helped me the most is to participate in on-line groups that focus on this subject and help each other be good mothers and to get through this all.Yes, as parents, we face many of the same challenges that non-custodial fathers face, but many of the challenges are different and truly unique.Children do deserve both parents and I'm hoping that the courts get that sooner vs. later.For moms who would like a board to talk about this very subject, come join us at "www.ncpmoms.com" I too faced the school game and was told "Well, you abandoned your son!" which are the exact words his father and girlfriend use to describe what happened.Again, awesome article which I printed and passed on to my daughter who just got divorced.
Kudos to the author!I am also a non-custodial mother. I too, have felt like the school would rather not acknowledge my existence.It also many times feels as if nothing the non-custodial parents does is right. If we buy our children something, we are seen to be "buying the kids" and not really parenting. If we are minimal in what we buy for them, then the attitude is "you would think they could at least buy something for the child- they're never here to take care of them."If we stick to the time allotted to us, we are horrible for not "wanting the child more", if we ask for the child more, we are just trying to lower child support or we are just trying to look good.Being a non-custodial mother is a minefield of issues.
Hi, I just want to encourage everyone to visit my website - Noncustodial Parent Community http://ncpcommunity.com. I comment on news about noncustodial parents and share tips and resources from my experience and that of firstname.lastname@example.org://ncpcommunity.com
Very well done article, got me thinking. I am at the end of a 14 yr marriage,but I'm stuck because I don't know what to do with/about my 2 kids 9 & 12? I don't have a career, east or west coast, but if I have to start anew post-marriage I want to be Where I want to be, which is LA. I'm going to be 48 that's old enough to wait this long I feel. also-My soon to be ex-husband is a great Dad, very capable. I've gotten tons of advice; "You can't leave your kids!" and "Go to California, they will love you anyway, take care of yourself.." I am wrecked with impending guilt and lonliness if I leave them here (My ex would never let me take them) but if I stay it's the continuation of being controlled by him and not leading the life I want. Help!
I have been a NCM for ten years. I have lived the discrimination from school personnel. One Superintendent actually said, "You mean they allow children to LIVE with YOU?" upon learning that I had recently given birth to my second child with my new husband.While the stigma of being a NCM leaves a lasting impression on the mother, my concern is the effects on the children. I hope to see more research on this topic in the future.By the way, I am a nurse and a drug and alcohol counselor. I hold an MEd. I have full secruity clearances connected to my employment and I hold child abuse and criminal clerances. Somehow, I can never discuss my NCM status without making all this clear. What I lacked was money and connections in court.
Amen to that. He with the deepest pockets and/or social status usually wins. And the system is not set up to monitor the progress of the NCM so things can change. There is also so very much corruption involved in the court system when it comes to attorneys, custody monitors, mental health professionals. One had washes the other. It's so very sad and it can go on until one is broke...or emotionally broken.Good article, Katy. Thank you for the attention to the subject from 14 month NCM.
Great article. What a difficult subject. It strikes me that one or doctors interview our children and the involved adults, other parent and their spouses, and the court gives great heft to their opinion. Yet, I have been deathly ill and never would think to allow one or two opinions for my treatment. Different schools turn out different opinions. I know, I know, It´s the money. Who can afford visits with doctor after doctor. Sad, but true. I don´t know the answer. Maybe developing a computer program to use as an assist in the personality testing would help. Certainly it could not dictate the outcomes but it would be cheaper. I know they have many tests available for other things like "do what you are". Perhaps your sytle of parenting, your parenting priority index, your ability to support the child, etc. Just wandering around that idea. I did give up my 17 yo daughter so that she could go to another school. I see her almost daily. She is learning how to drive with me and I am the contact parent at school for any career or guidance type issues only because I developed the relationships with the school personnel. I e mail the teachers, I attend her track meets. I learned to parent as I go along. I ask lots of questions and model myself after no single person but I am a conglomerate of many. My mother left me alone in NY after my father died so I grew up very fast. The other kids would vie to stay out late I could care less. I had no one to rebel against, so when I was tired I went home. I went to school because was lonely at the house, no one there most of the time, lunch (had to eat) and the acclaim from the teachers (built my sense of worth). It´s ok to not pass on these traits. its ok for my daughter to experience other worlds and touch back with me. She is an incredibly kid. She is not without her faults, we all got them, but she is learning early in her young adulthood, late teenage hood to deal with life on its terms. Someone once told me about raising kids, just water them, let them grow and let them know what you stand for. Remind them that "Being first doesn´t make anyone want to be your friend." Then always let know where you are located so that if they need you, they got you.
Of course I feel that we need to not jump to conclusions and judgement with non-custodial mothers. However, I do have a problem with the mother, Spicuglia, who gave up custody because she wanted to live in NY. That I cannot accept as OK. Once she made the decision to be a mother, she was giving up her freedom. While it's fine that she gave her husband and his family full custody, she could have absolutely stayed down the block. She will not have my sympathy or understanding for moving ACROSS THE COUNTRY from her child. Those tears in his eyes at the airport communicates that very well. I also don't take employment as an excuse for living far away from your children. I'd live in a box if it meant that I could be near my children. It just doesn't make any sense to me why any mother would choose to move far away. Couldn't that be considered neglect? I am honsetly asking these questions because I want to hear from non-custodial moms so perhaps I can understand this situation in a different light. Thanks.
Kind of bittersweet article for me. I am married to a man with four children from his previous marriage. Despite both parents living in the same neighborhood, the courts determined that the children were not able to stay overnight at our house since my husband (joint legal and physical custody) was not the "primary residential custodian". Even though, with the birth of my children, I was the only SAH parent, I was unable to pick up the older children from school because I wasn't a "real parent". The artificial divisions on what is or is not "proper parenting" and who occupies the "moral high ground" is a terrible judgment on blended families and non-custodial parents of either gender.
A little reminder...the president's mother was non-custodial for most of his life...he seems to have turned out just fine...
" The couple married on February 2, 1961, and Barack was born later that year. His parents separated when he was two years old and they divorced in 1964. Obama's father returned to Kenya and saw his son only once more before dying in an automobile accident in 1982."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_ObamaPresident Obama was not raised by his father, and his mother was custodial.
This was a difficult article for me to read. My mother was a non-custodial parent back when it was even more unusual--the early 1980s. Although I think she did the right thing, I missed her terribly and had a difficult time going through puberty without my mom guiding me. As a child, I did not understand why she left me. I saw her only weekly, and then less than that when my Dad moved me to a nearby state (although I was allowed all of the phone calls I wanted and my dad would make sure I got to visit regularly). Today, at age 40, I have a great relationship with both my mom and dad, but I had to go through a few years of counseling in my early 20s to deal with my feelings of abandonment with regard to my mother. Now I accept the circumstances and the wound is healed (albeit with a small scar). It affects me still, though, in this way: I have a daughter of my own and feel I couldn't/wouldn't leave her for anything. I am fierce about it.My feeling about my own daughter is not a judgement of non-custodial moms. I know the decision is difficult. I support my own mom in her decision. I'm just giving the perspective of a child who lived through it.
I've sat in the bleachers at my children's little league baseball game, apart from the group of Mom's who bring juice boxes and fruit roll-ups for after game snack time, and pretty much felt like Hell Boy. Little do they know I spent most of my early years keeping score, baking cookies on a weekday afternoon and driving my kids to practice in the mini van. I've seen the sideways glances and their heads drawn together in discussion afterwards. I've even overheard the thinly guarded whisper of "what kind of Mother leaves her children?". I happen to be the bread winner in my family. I am the kind of woman who knew my children needed health insurance benefits and wouldn't have them if we relied on Daddy to work a full time job. I am the kind of woman who had a difficult time quickly recovering financially and emotionally when it was revealed that my husband of 17 years was dangerously unfaithful and it would be a hazard to my health to stay married to him. I want to tell them, "The kind of Mother who reels from devastation but has to take the reigns of her life back in order to provide a secure life for her children again". I'm not a drug addict, I've never raised a hand to anyone, I don't drink, I am actually a great full time stay at home Mom and have many years under my belt doing just that. But sometimes, the Father becomes the "better parent" completely by default. In my case, his mistakes in our marriage led to me needing to give him temporary physical custody until I could financially support my 3 children without relying on him. 90 days past and his new girlfriend made sure to hire a lawyer and make the situation permanant. I couldn't "fight back" financially and it would have upset our children's lives even more so I agreed. Now, I pay child support, see my children every other weekend and on Holidays and have to go to their schools for Parent Teacher night and smile at them when they show me artwork featuring their Hero... a crayon drawing of Dad.Hell Boy or unsung hero? Maybe women shouldn't judge each other so harshly. At least not until they know the whole story.
Three years ago, I was forced to leave my daughter (then 4 years old) with her father because he wanted to end the marriage and marry my best friend. I was in shock and had no money or family. I had to allow my daughter to stay with her father because he is wealthy and has his own mother to help. This has been extremely painful for my daughter and for me. She is taken care of, they have a mini-mansion and a pool and a good school system. I am poor, and have to live in the next state, where I could find a better job. I see her every other weekend, and on holidays and summers. It is not enough. Not only am I treated like a monster by my ex-husband's family, I have no idea how to assert my rights. I'm sad that my former friend gets to raise my daughter and I simply do not have the money or resources to provide for her.My situation is against my will, but there is still a stigma, and I have little hope of recovering from this. My life is empty without my daughter. I don't know what to do.
Anonymous and others struggling with this situation, here are some state-by-state resources for noncustodial mothers:http://justice4mothers.wordpress.com/noncustodial-moms-pages/Also, of course, please check out the Noncustodial Parent Community http://ncpcommunity.com.Take care,Katy Read
I have limited empathy and no sympothy for these mothers. I am a non custodial father who has been to court 10 times in the fast 4 years to attempt to get custody in a bias system, I have experianced every bit the the degradation described and more, funny how the assumption of abuse, neglect, cheating, and titles like deadbeat are so rapidly tied to a father whose only crime was at one point loving an unfaithful woman. Yet all you hear about is the sob stories of women. My ex was and is controling, and abusive, and after years of working grindstone jobs to support her through a masters degree she finially took her degree all our possesions and my children and ran off with another man. did she face any conciquences for her actions? no infact she now has a household income of over 100,000 dollars. Any gratitude for the life my hard work afforded her? yep It amounted to her accusing me of everything she did, followed by throwing me in jail after i lost my job as a result of the company going out of buisness, and not affording the rediculouse child support payments. so now i have the title criminal to accompany everything else she branded me with and robbed me of. any mother boohooing about their situation should see how the other side lives.
I just read this article for a second time and cried and cried. It hits at my heart, as do all of the comments in response. After seven years as an at home mother of two children my husband and I divorced amicably with great intentions. I moved to an apartment three blocks away from the family home (because my ex couldn't bear to move), rose at 6 every morning and arrived at the family house to cook breakfast and get my son ready for kindergarten while my ex went to work. I also did the kids' laundry there, cleaned their rooms. I stayed home for an extra year, living off equity--my only financial award in the divorce process, I didn't take alimony--so that my children wouldn't have to go to daycare and I could finish my graduate degree. A year post-divorce I was a broke graduate, with student loans and a chronic stress-related health condition. Because we lived in a small, economically depressed town, I chose (painfully) to move two hours away for a training opportunity in my field. I spent two years in extreme poverty and transition, and through that time I relied on women's community (shared homes and resources) and family to see me and my children through. They have known nothing but loving support wherever we have lived. I drove at 4 am every week to be with my children on Fridays and weekends, took on all of the transportation time and expense because my ex refused to cooperate. He was angry for my leaving, angry for the loss of my support (he had to learn to cook and do the laundry), and has punished me by trying to exclude me from my kids' lives. Except when it is convenient for him, like when he wants to take a vacation or needs time alone with his new wife. Though I have been slowly moving toward stability (I've been promoted and am working full-time in my field, have my own home and--blessedly--health insurance), and have attempted to rearrange our custodial agreement toward more equity, he is more resistant and controlling than ever. When I ask him why his is so angry he says it is because I have gone against everything he believes a mother should do or be. He says I am selfish.I carry my choices like a darkness at the center of my soul. It's true, every comment about my children brings my story to the fore. Every interaction with systems that refuse to recognize my legitimacy as a parent hardens that darkness. Every expression of love and connection I experience with my children melts it a little. My ex-husband's anger I now recognize as abuse. His privilege in our situation has enabled him to make very few changes since our divorce, and that same privilege gives him permission to sit in judgment, to deny my children access to all that I offer on the grounds that I do not meet his gendered ideal. I am learning to undo some of the psychological damage. When women tell our stories, like these right here, when we tell them loudly and publicly and own the wonderful opportunities that rise from uniqueness--of situation, of person, of role--we make it possible for others to imagine a more inclusive world.Compassion is the key to reducing secrecy and shame. One of the most healing moments of the last three years was meeting my eighty year old friend Pat. Pat left her mentally abusive marriage and her children in the early 1960's. She was a non-custodial mother, but with persistence she remained connected to her children, and has a deep and sustaining relationship with all three of her sons today. I was the only other non-custodial mother Pat had ever met. It is good to know we are not alone.
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Whoever came up with the idea of the "best interests of the child" and gender neutrality with respect to custody of the child is a complete moron. Going to court to prove your ex is unfit to parent is ridiculous. And the idea of child support is ridiculous, too. Mothers should almost always have custody, and child support should be $10/month at most. Only then will the system be fair. But then they don't want the system to be fair, they are making way too much money.
Thank you so much for your support for NCMs.I decided to leave my children in the care of their father and soon to be ex-husband after falling into a massive depression follwing the untimely death of my best friend, my mother.I have a 11 year old daughter and a 3 year old son.It's been close to a year since I left, but to me it seems much shorter. I am constanly sad and anxious. I still have trouble eating and must take prescription medication to sleep as well as for my anxiety.I can see my children whenever I want, unfortunetly I find returning them to their father so difficult I sometimes prefer,for the time being,not to pick them up at all.Guilt is my biggeat demon in all this.I know I could not care for my children like they desreved,but society completetly dismisses my reasons and continues to make me feel like I'm a terrible person.NCMs need help adjusting and coping and I think your article is doing just that Thank you a million for your informative and gentle writing.
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I am a noncustodial mom. I lost custody of my children because of my mental health disability. I was a stay at home mom for years and no one ever questioned my ability to parent my children. Then my ex had and affair and left us, took all the money and left me with a home in pre-foreclosure and a car about to be repossessed. Then he did even worse, he call CPS to report me saying I was unstable and was unable to care for my children. I ended up in a mental facility to get my meds straightened out, and was supposed to return home in about 2 weeks. While I was gone, he filed for custody and won because I was unaware it was happening. I got out of the hospital, with no place to live, no visitation schedule, not even joint custody. I attempted suicide because of what he did to me and my family.I fought for 2 years to get custody, visitation, anything. slowly I got visitation and joint custody, but the courts are very discriminatory to mental health issues.I feel guilt, loss, shame everyday. I wasnt going to let him win though, I volunteer 2 times a month in my daughters classroom, the staff at the school know me very well, and they barely know him because he is always to busy to be at school functions. Her school even recognized me at a school assembly for being an outstanding volunteer.I love my children more than the world. I want them to see me as a strong person (even though I struggle to think I am).
Any woman that does not get custody of her children either has something very wrong with her or she did something very wrong. I am a single father of four with sole custody of them and as far as I am concerned every non-custodial mother out there deserves to endure a lifetime of stigma and shame. And by the way, make sure you pay your child support to the father who has dedicated his life to the children that you abandoned.
To Anonymous who just posted on September 29, 2011....you have some nerve.So....could the opposite be true? That any father who doesn't have primary residential custody isn't worth a piece of whatever and should forever live with the stigma?NO....As was said....There are many reasons a mother might not live with her children and you just proved it that there is one main reaction: harsh judgment.
"Anonymous" is more than a piece of work. He's transparently a money grubbing narcissist that probably used false allegations against the mother to get custody. Because, after all, any father who gets custody of their children MUST have done something horrible and deceitful in order to GET custody in the first place AND, all custodial fathers only even GO for custody so they can GET child support instead of PAY it. Yeah, how's that for a stupid stereotype??
I, "Anonymous" will address both of the prior comments. Yes, I do have nerve, the nerve to lash out against non-custodial mothers who continually grasp at straws to rationalize their "loser" status and delusionally justify that they still play any real role in the lives of the children they elected to abondon, either explicitly or implicitly by the behaviro that led to their being denied custody.Fact is, it is still only 10% of mothers who do not get custody, the system is still heavily biased in favor of the mother and therefore any mother who doesn't get custody is, more or less, a screw-up. A father that does not get custody is vastly more the norm than a father that does get custody, so no, there is zero societal stigma associated with being a non-custodial father. Not so with mothers and only a fool would argue otherwise.And as for you, Ms. I Hate Sterotypes, in my situation it was the children's mother who was the "money-grubbing narcissist" -- her reward for runnning off with her HS boyfriend after 20 years of marriage (and movign 500 miles away form her children) was to get half my assets, thus becoming an instant millionaire, and I was ordered to pay $4,750 a month in spousal maintenance due to my income level. She, in turn, a former stay-at-home mom who never worked outside the home, was ordered to pay me a paltry $1,130 in child support. I simply do not undertand your logic that I, seeking only what was best and most stable for the children, did something "horrible" to seek custody and used "false allegations against the mother". For your information in the custody evaluation I had the support of my ex's family, all the neighbors, our children's friends' parents, school administrators, our two priests, and even my ex's boyfriend's sister who correctly observed what a floozy my ex was. Your logic is totally twisted and you need to accept the fact that when the mother doesn't get cutody, it is almost always because she is a wicked person, no matter what kind of "spin" she tries to put on it after the fact. All noncustodial mothers should live in shame and many could do us all a favor and just off themselves.
Anonymous,Your previous posts made me believe you were simply an uninformed individual who doesn't have enough experience in the family court system to know different that what you posted. Your last post now let's me know that you are INDEED such... but that you are also an extremely bitter man who has decided to use that bitterness to stereotype all non custodial moms. Instead of anger, I now have nothing except pity. And I don't mean that in a condescendng way. I truly feel sorry that your own personal experience (one out of a million) has left you so bitter and resentful that you would blanket so many other fellow human beings with such hatred. I pray that you somehow find your way out of your dark dark place and realize the error of your way of thinking. God Bless.I Hate Stereotypes
Yeah I'm bitter, but don't pity me -- I now have a beautiful third-world sex-machine for a wife, half my age, who is feminine and docile and traditional, unlike the woefully indoctrinated American females that can't handle motherhood. And guess what? My children love her. If you want to pity anyone, pity my seven year-old son who regularly asks me: "why did Mommy have to leave"? When I was seven, my stay-at-home mom was the closest person in my life. Yet my ex, who had everything in the world she could have ever asked for, walked on on four young children who she had nurtured every day of their lives up until that point. Of course I am bitter about that.Certain types of people like to believe there is no validity to stereotyping. But the truth is, stereotyping is a statistically rationale way of viewing the world. And you heard it here first even if it isn't politically correct to your ears: ALL NON-CUSTODIAL MOTHERS HAVE SOMETHING WRONG WITH THEM, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD BE WITH THEIR KIDS.
It's in cases like this that I sometimes hope/wish that there IS such a thing as reincarnation. If there is, I hope/pray that you come back and live the nightmare the just ONE fit and loving non custodial Mom has endured. Just one. The fact is, the word "parent" is NOT defined by whose roof is over a child's head a larger percent of the time or who contributes more money financially. Parent is defined as having the responsibility and skills to raise a child with the morals and values to become a RATIONAL, PRODUCTIVE, and EDUCATED member of society. You, Mr. Anonymous, are clearly lacking those skills. So while you may be the "custodial" parent, it's your children that I pity more than you. They don't even have a chance if they are being raised with the morals and values you're displaying on this blog.I was raised by my Father. Because of documentation and modern technology, I know the truth of why/how my Father was able to obtain custody of me. Thankfully, as an adult, I now have a healthy and loving relationship with my Mother. We had years stolen from us due to bitterness and "control" issues.I pray that your children get to experience the same. Remember, your children will not be children forever and they SEE with their eyes AND their hearts the kind of person their Father is. Now, as children, they may not be able to see things for what they are.. but trust me, as adults they WILL look back at the legacy you are CLEARLY leaving and will judge you in adulthood accordingly. We won't even get into the Guy upstairs. LOL
Thanks for your prayers and BTW reincarnation is a fallacy of Hindu origin, but I assure you I would not want to ever experience the HELL of being a non-custodial mother. And I can assure you that you would not criticize my responsibility nor my parenting skills were you to meet me and my children. They are all intelligent and well-rounded and they love their Dad. As I stated in my prior message, all of the teachers and school administrators sided with me in the custody "battle" -- what does that say? If you want to get into a discussion about the Man Upstairs, we can do that. I am angry with Him and He allows me to argue with Him (open up the Old Testament and read about Abraham and Job), even if I cannot win the argument.And you ought not question my morals either. Just because I now have a young, sexy wife does not make either of us less Christian. She is trying to raise the kids as if they were her very own, and they love her. And every morning, noon and night she and I work on bringing another of God's children into the world - hahaha. Perhaps you should instead consider the morals of a my children's biological mother who walked out on them and moved two states away in order to be with her high-school boyfriend she "connected" with on Facebook after 25 years. The funniest part is that he dumped her two weeks ago, so now what does she have (other than my millions)? She lives a lonely, bleak and haunted existence entirely of her own creation, forever removed from the children she gave birth to. And she has the nerve to regularly threaten the children's nanny as well as my wife, solely because these two women are fully involved in the lives of the children she elected to abondon, and she simply can't handle it. We all know how this will ultimately end, and that is why I have maintained so much life insurance on the loser shrew (suicide clauses expire after one to two years depending on the life insurance carrier).
GREAT article! Having been a long distance mom myself and having run a community for long distance parents for many years, I've often seen a difference in the way that non custodial moms and dads see and handle being a non custodial parent but the difference is rarely so well defined or articulated.
Dear Anonymous post of 9/29/11:The fact that you had to find a wife in a third world country speaks volumes. It is so sad that such an insecure, selfish man is happy to hurt his own children as a means of revenge. Truly stunted. And besides, isn't their a dean tong website you could go to instead? He only likes people he can control too.
Nice article....I would like to see an article talking about step-moms. I am a custodial step-mom, my husband has custody of his son from a previous 2 week relationship.Although I sympathize and agree with some of the points in the article, step-moms who are married to a man with custody have it pretty hard too. No one takes a step-mother seriously, schools, coaches, doctors...even though I am the one that stepped up to be this childs mother when his own barely lifted her head from snorting perscriptions to potty train him I get ZERO recognition. I agree most people wonder what went wrong when they meet a non-custodial mother but i have no sympathy because i've never met a non-custodial mother that lost her kids for "a job" or whatever.It upsets me to see all the sympathy for the poor poor non-custodial mothers...what about the child? doesn't the child matter? or the people who are taking care of the child as their own and providing a life any child would be lucky to have.Sorry to get heated but i would love to see an article commending step-moms and giving advice on how to deal with non-custodial moms.
I was a non-custodial mother from 2005 to 2009, then in 2009, I got joint legal and joint physical custody of my son but my son still doesn't live with me. He was 6, in 2005 when his dad and my daughter's father(by different father) got together and both abandoned me in a homeless shelter and blindsided me by causing me to lose custody of my son when I moved to a better place. All this happen in Memphis and Michigan (my son's birthplace. I was not abusive or anything and completed a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Psychology during that time. I started a ministry newsletter called Worth and Dignity talking about the ordeal I went through and speaking to churches, community leaders,and nonprofits testifying about what the Lord brought me from. I too have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with ignorant school officials and the father omitting and falsely given wrong information so the schools can't involve me in the process. Many times the fathers, especially in cases like these are spiteful or hell bent on revenge for leaving them and want control, so they use the children to control you. Don't give in to them. Stand your ground and be diplomatic. Two words: mind games.I still have a school-age child (girl) to take care of and the financial toll these situations take is overwhelming and depressing. I only have summer vistiations and Christmas break to see my son and he will soon be 14 and he doesn't know his rights on being able to freely choose who he wants to be with. You better believe I have informed him of this. I love this article and want to build a campaign just like the author spoke about the 21st century non-custodial parent. If anyone will support it, then I will lead the charge for a change in school policy and legislative policy because too many lawyers, like the one I had railroad you in court. I am black and my son's father is white and race and socio-economic status comes into play and I have felt that I had been discriminated against since my son is biracial. The injustices of this goes far beyond the courts. Been tortured for 13 years about this but my suffering has not been in vain, but a mission from God for me to change things for others and the greater good.
One more thing to add ladies..You are NO LESS a parent if you don't have your child(ren). I believe that the Lord does things for a good reason. Develop yourself and live life to the fullest as best as you can (travel, start a business, etc), you have a life of your own to live. So while your children are away, live it for them too until they come back or you get them back. If the other parent has been deceptive with schools, friends, and family, or strangers believe me, they will royally reap what they sow in the future. Trust me.
In response to: "One more thing to add ladies..You are NO LESS a parent if you don't have your child(ren). I believe that the Lord does things for a good reason." I dont' think the Lord told the non-custodial mother(s) to walk out on her kids, to not help raise them, nurture them and guide them to be fine young adults. Good job Custodial Fathers! I have zero empathy for any Non-Custodial Mother that left their kids other than Mothers with a mental issues. All others, your missed it!
Attached is a link about a non-custodial mother. Cut and paste this horrible news and then tell me how much sympathy do you all have for her?ALL NON-CUSTODIAL MOTHERS EITHER DID SOMETHING VERY WRONG OR HAVE SOMETHING VERY WRONG WITH THEM. AND THAT GOES FOR YOU TOO REBECCA SPITIGULA. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2137926/Mother-Mistie-Atkinson-sex-tape-son-16-sent-naked-photos-herself.html?ICO=most_read_module
Hi i have been a noncustodial mother for 1 year now and am feeling so regretful of my decision lately, i see my sons 5 and 8 every weekend and by monday afternoon am always a tearful mess, these stories of similar situation do help to feel im not the only one in this circumstance, where i willingly gave custody of my children to their father, at the time i felt it was what was best for them and they wanted to be with him in their family home and school, now i have days when i just think was just weak and manipulated by my ex as i had been for 10 years, he is a very egotystical and arrogant man but i beleived he was a good father. I know my children are not being neglected with him or unloved, but i sometimes wonder if they ever think " why didn't she want to keep us". On sundays ( drop off day) when i would say " come on it's time to go back to dads" my youngest would sometimes say" but mum i haven't been naughty why can't i stay" my heart hurts when i think about it, i hate going into their bedroom when they are not here, i don't even care anymore what other people assume when i say i don't have custody, what upsets me is what my kids might be feeling. Does this feeling of regret and guilt ever subside will there ever be a week that goes by that im not in tears and feeling sick about this, when they are with me my life feels complete and happy, what ive wanted for ten years ( i have recently remarried, to a wonderful man that is great with the kids and with myself) but then sunday comes and its like waking from a delightful dream that you cant get back into no matter how hard you try.
Hmmm can't imagine why she left, you sound like a real catch. Why are you so angry for anyway, you said previously your new "feminine, docile and traditional wife ( sorry forgot to mention 3rd world sex machine) " is great with the kids you got your kids and a so called wonderful life now shes gone, or are you still having trouble dealing with the fact that SHE left YOU.
Wow, there's always one in the bunch hey ladies? Some people just don't live in the real world. 11 years ago my ex and I separated and then spent a year in the court system trying to iron out custody. My ex is a very manipulative and vindictive person and he never forgave me for moving out with the children so the past 11 years have been interesting to say the least. I had basically been a single parent while we were together so it shocked me to find out he intended to fight for custody. After a court battle that cost me nearly $30,000 that I am still trying to pay off, the court ordered joint custody with their father getting primary residence. I was devistated. In addition to him going out of his way to exclude me from their lives, I too have endured judgement and criticism from people (some of which were once friends) who just assume I don't want to be with my children. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not being with them full time has been the worst part of my life for 11 years. It has taken every ounce of strength I have to maintain a good relationship with them despite their father's interferance. For 11 years while he has lied and cheated and manipulated, I have refused to play his games. I have spent 11 years loving my children and trying to make every visit quality time because any time with them is precious. While he critisized me to the children, I spoke only with respect because he is their father and it would serve no purpose to involve them in our constant struggle. And 11 years later they have both acknowledged that they understand why I left. And inwardly I rejoice, because they came to that conclusion on their own and because I wasn't the one to point it out. They are now 17 and 19 years old and yes, my ex is taking me back to court once again for MORE child support and I know it is a control issue with him - a last kick at the cat to make me suffer, but what he may not realize is that he will never win. I'm ok. The children and I love each other and he can't take that away from us. It was and is still hard at times, but ladies sometime in the past 11 years when I wasn't looking, I made an ok life for myself. And you can too! Sometimes bad things do happen to good people. Be kind to yourself and do your best to build a quality relationship with your children when you do see them. As my grandma used to say "it'll all work out in the wash honey" and I'm starting to see now that she was right. ((big hug))
Just an update of my experience. My ex took me back to court this past Tuesday for more money. I want to say that my outlook on the whole thing changed from victim 11 years ago to confident on Tuesday. We had the same judge and that gave me a bit of apprehension (don't tell me that any of you feel kindly towards the judge who gave custody/primary residence to your ex's) but this time he seemed to be in my corner. It was so wonderful to let some of the anger I had for him slip away. Like a huge weight lifted off me for letting that hatrid go. I attribute the success I had to my attitude. Be confident in the knowledge that you are good people. It doesn't matter what the rest of the world think - you know the truth. And remember that regret is a wasted emotion. You can't change the past, you can only be your best you in the future. Forgive yourself and move on. Because if you can't do that, how can you expect others to?
Wish I'd found this when it was originally posted! I started a branch of Mothers without Custody in Maryland back in the early 80's, when there were a lot of us talking about this. It felt like that would help turn things around. Sadly, now that I'm a mother in law and a grandmother, I find that the myth and judgments can continue. My son loves me and wants me in the family. His wife prefers his stepmom, who is a great person. Surely there's room for everyone, but...you know, I "gave up custody" so I'm pretty much the non-mom. It is still difficult. If I had known this, I don't know that I would have given custody over so easily, though I still think it was the best choice for our son.
CharlieRomeo-I am currently going through a battle I fear may end up with me being a NCM. I have been the Custodial Parent for 8 yrs now of my soon to be 9 yr old son. My childs Father is rarely in his life, he has had arrest, behavioral issues and drug problems, but money talks and removes charges. I am not one for fighting and I am put in a situation where I will need to throw alligatons after alligations. My childs father stated he didn't care what I did with my child to "do what I had to do". Just last week I was served with A notice to show Cause as we were planning a move to Florida where my husband lives and where we purchased a home. I live in a town where there are rarely jobs unless you work at a factory or make minimum wage. My son has had a "broken" family and I have wanted to provide him a good stable home for all his life. The downside is that my and his family still live in this "dying" town. I love that he is close with his family, but over the years he is emotional and mentally detached. I have tryed to be the best mom, but fighting to live comfortably as a single mom is difficult and tiresome. His father does not pay support and at the age of 31 still lives with his parents. The grandfather tried adopting my son and he is the one pressuring the father to gain custody so that he can adopt for financial reasons. I am stuck in a battle where I am fighting someone with money (the parents). My son's father does not work he does not provide medical care, he does not own a vehicle nor a place of his own. The only time he is around my child is when he is on the couch recovering from whatever his drug of choice was for that day. I ask for help please. No negative comments please. Also wanted to say thank you for this article, it really helped me prepare for the possiblility of losing him to a messed up court system.
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