Some custodial parents do their part to co-parent and keep post-divorce stress low. These Mothers and Fathers are to be commended for doing what is right for their children. However, some of the Mothers and Fathers who gain primary custody were abusive or controlling during their relationship with the non custodial parent. Post-divorce, they use the children as pawns to continuously manipulate, control, bribe and emotionally abuse the non-custodial Mother or Father. In many cases, it is the custodial parent’s way of punishing their former spouse for leaving the relationship. These custodial parents continuously make decisions which they narcissistically believe are in the “best interest” of the children, despite that their decisions minimize or remove the other parent from their children’s life. The undisputed fact is, the greatest harm that is inflicted through these decisions is heaped on the shoulders of the children involved. They are invisible and permanent wounds that our children will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Nothing justifies the minimization or removal of a fit and loving parent from a child’s life.
There are many issues which Non Custodial Parents face. NANCM is focused on helping Non Custodial Moms face the top three issues which are primary aspects of being a Non Custodial Mom. This statement is not a “blanket statement” and NANCM realizes that there are Non Custodial Fathers who may face these same issues.
Negative Social Stigma
Loving non-custodial moms are facing a stigma in society that is reprehensible and unjust. People assume these Mothers do not have custody because they are drug addicts, alcoholics, child abusers, or they just didn't want their children .While there certainly are cases of dead-beat Moms who give up their children and walk away, in more and more cases today, fit and loving Mothers are losing custody against their will. In general, most people believe that Mothers always gets custody of the kids. The fact is, the Tender Years Doctrine has been abolished, more Fathers are seeking custody, and Father’s Rights Organizations have come a long way in (justifiably) demanding non gender biased decisions in child custody cases. While no gender bias in custody cases is a good thing, the unfortunate part is that in some of these cases, when the Father gains custody, he doesn't do a much better job than some non-custodial Mothers. Too many custodial Mothers and Fathers do whatever they can to alienate the non-custodial Mother or Father. Some move the children out of state. A lot of custodial Fathers insinuate that the Mother “gave them up” and a lot of custodial Mothers insinuate that the non-custodial Father "left" and "didn't care, and in some cases the custodial Mother or Father finds a new spouse to try to replace the non-custodial parent. All of these things combined create a recipe for a lot of horrible misconceptions about non-custodial parents.
This unjust social stigma can and does create havoc in a Non Custodial Mom’s life, to the point that it interferes with the ability to obtain medical records, educational status and other information regarding their child. Visitations when a child becomes ill become a major ordeal, not only because the child is ill, but because the Mother has been black listed in the Doctor’s office. School events become activities where a Non Custodial Mother finds herself sitting alone at the far end of the bleachers because other parents, teachers and even coaches are seen pointing and whispering.
When someone hears that a Father does not have custody, people do not immediately wonder, “why did the Mother get custody?” “What did he do wrong to lose custody?”. Yet these questions come automatically when it’s the Mother who loses custody; even if she was a completely fit and loving Mother with nothing more than a traffic ticket in her past.
Excruciating Emotional Pain
There truly are no words to describe the pain a Mother or Father goes through when being separated from their children. After feeling the child grow inside them for nine months; feeling them kick for the first time, feeling them turn somersaults inside their wombs, savoring every moment of the birthing experience that God bestowed upon them; for a Mother the pain is indescribable. It goes against everything nature intended. Are there Mothers who can do this without flinching, without remorse and guilt? Yes, there are. Are there Fathers who feel just as much pain? Yes, there are! The bottom line is, when the Mother or Father are fit and loving and have been the primary care giver of the child since birth, the separation is devastating beyond description.
For that reason, any fit and loving Mother who is separated from their child needs emotional support. Because it’s only an “up and coming” trend that Fathers are gaining custody more often, the Non Custodial Mother is also faced with the feeling of being “one in a million” and usually feels like she’s the “only Mother in the World to have lost custody”. Add the social stigma to those feelings and it turns into despair and sadly, certifiable depression. Social anxiety attacks are common among Non Custodial Mothers as well; due to the pressure of having to face others and get asked questions such as, “where do your kids go to school” and “what did you possibly do wrong to lose custody?”.
There is a very big “catch 22” that Mothers Without Custody must overcome. If a Non Custodial Mom doesn’t show sadness and depression, she’s looked at like she must not love her children. But if she does show signs of depression she is labeled as “unstable” and “unfit” and is reduced to supervised visitation where, if she shows too much emotion (sheds a single tear) the visitation is halted until she can “compose herself”. It’s insanity to say the least.
In a good number of cases, the Non Custodial Mother was the primary care giver for the children prior to losing custody to a more powerful and wealthy X husband. After legal expenses the expense of getting a stable home set up, and in most cases being sued for child support by someone who makes 10 times their own income, Non Custodial Mothers frequently find themselves in financial ruin. Yes, this is an adult issue that many people face and it’s an individual’s responsibility to do what’s necessary to become financially stable. However, the fallout from this financial devastation is two-fold:
- It effects the Non Custodial Mothers ability to feed and clothe her child during the visitation she has. Without custody, an NCM cannot file for food stamp assistance to ensure she has food on the table when the children are with her.
It effects the Non Custodial Mothers ability to maintain a nurturing and loving relationship with her child. This is especially true when the Custodial Parent moves the child out of state, adding travel expenses to the already drained household expenses.
NANCM’s vision is to help Non Custodial Moms overcome these 3 major issues through educational resources, grants, contributions, charitable affiliations and whatever other sources we can obtain.