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Can a Father Take a Child Away from the Mother


The saddest truth of a divorce is the decision of the child. Divorce may be a relief for parents, but it’s a rollercoaster ride for their children. With lots of other disagreements, child custody comes as the primary concern.

Parents most combat when it comes to taking the responsibilities of a child. There was a time when the mother used to get child custody automatically. Nowadays, a father has an equal chance to win child custody.

We have clients asking us repeatedly, can a father take a child away from the mother? This brief article we’ve come with the information regarding child custody. Be ready as the information may surprise you.

Can A Father Take A Child Away From The Mother?

Yes, only if the father acquires sole physical custody. Sole custody is also known as the primary custodial parent. If you have sole physical custody, another parent cannot take away the child legally.

It will be called parental kidnaping if he/she take the child away from you. If the couple is still married but separated, it is legal for both the parent to take the child.

If the couple is divorced and the mother gets the sole physical custody, the father cannot take away the child. Sometimes, it becomes more complicated if you both share physical custody. There involves a lot of more procedures.

Many of you possibly don’t know details about child custody, which you should know. Here we’ll discuss more child custody, sole physical custody, and joint physical custody.

About Child Custody

Child custody is a legal procedure that describes the legal relationship of a parent with a child. It gives the parent a legal right to decide for the child. Also, the parent is responsible for all the rights and duties of a child.

Usually, when a couple is married, they share joint custody of the child. That doesn’t need to mention very often. The conflict happens when the couple is about to get divorced or separated.

Child custody can be either legal or physical, which has separate meanings. Here we’ll talk about the child’s physical custody. It has different forms from where sole physical custody and joint physical custody are the most discussed.

Sole Physical Custody

Sole physical custody is an agreement where one parent got the physical custody of a child. The parent who got the custody is called custodial parent, while the other one is the non-custodial parent.

The custodial parent has the freedom to decide the child’s residence, education, health, and religious nurture. This parent can share legal custody with other parents. Conversely, the non-custodial parent has regular visitation rights.

Benefits of Sole Physical Custody for the Child

When the child is with the parent who got sole physical custody, the child got a home base. The home can be either the same one that the child has been living in or a different one. It allows the child to maintain the life routine as before.

In sole physical custody, the parent needs to set a schedule that everyone can know. The non-custodial parent got the chance to visit the child. So, the bond between the parent and the child becomes strong.

There should be a mutual understanding between both the parents. If the parent lives far away, the children can stay in one place rather than traveling.

Disadvantages of Sole Physical Custody

In sole physical custody, the children get the chance to live with one parent. Definitely, the child doesn’t get quality time to spend with both parents. The non-custodial parent cannot spend time like before, which may affect their relationship.

When A Parent Get Sole Physical Custody?

A parent deserves to have sole physical custody, when;

  • Both the parents settle for sole physical custody for the child’s betterment.
  • A couple is not married, yet he/she has a court order regarding primary custody.
  • A parent has to travel a lot, and it becomes difficult to live with the children. The other parent can have sole physical custody.
  • A child requires a prime residence for an age-suitable custody schedule.
  • Both the parent lives far away from each other.
  • A parent is mentally unstable or abusive; the other parent gets custody.
  • A mother who is not married, and there is no legal identification about the father. Then the mother gets custody.

Who Does Not Need A Sole Physical Custody?

  • If a couple is married and there is no custody order tool place, the couple doesn’t need it.
  • When there is a court order that states both the parent share joint custody.

Joint Physical Custody

Joint physical custody is a kind of sharing parenting time. It’s an arrangement where both the parent get equal responsibility and time to spend with their child. Here both parents are custodial parents.

The other name of joint physical custody is shared parenting. This arrangement is applied when parents are either divorced, separated, or do not live together. In this process, parents mutually choose to share the child’s responsibilities.

Both the parent have to share the responsibility of child-raising, house chores, spending recreation time, etc. If a father has joint physical custody, he can take away the child from the more but for a specific time.

Benefits of Joint Physical Custody for the Child

Joint physical custody is the appropriate solution for children after the parents’ divorce. It has tremendous benefits for the child and parents as well. As the child can live in both households, it helps the child to maintain a healthy relationship with the children.

The parents have to cooperative to proceed with the joint physical custody. So, there comes no legal arguing in between. It also helps to minimize the trauma of divorce in the child. Since both the parents share the expenses, it saves money from both sides.

Disadvantages of Joint Physical Custody

The parents have to synchronize the schedules and plans, which is quite tricky. If they failed to do so, the situation becomes a nightmare. The child has to stay on both sides. Maintaining both sides becomes challenging for children. There can be arguments regarding the child’s positive interest as both are the custodial parent.

When Parents Get Joint Physical Custody?

Both the parents get joint physical custody, when;

  • They both mutually agree and decides for the positive interest of their child.
  • If parents live near to each other and joint custody is logistically possible.
  • Both of them are in the state to cooperate reasonably well.
  • They do not have any history of child abuse or domestic violence.

Why Can Parents Lose Custody of a Child?

When parents ask for a divorce, the judgment takes time. Before the judge decides anything for the child’s finest interest, both parents got joint custody rights.

These days, either father or mother ends with losing the custody of their child. So what happened later is, the other parent got sole physical custody. When a parent receives sole physical custody, another parent cannot take away the child.

Here are a few reasons why a parent loses child custody.

  • Domestic violence is the main reason for a mother or father losing child custody. The court thinks it as a threat to the child.
  • Child abuse, specifically sexual abuse, is another main reason. No matter what intentionally or unintentionally, parent punishes their child for teaching them manner or discipline. For example, spanking or other physical acts. This is called “corporal punishment.”

Verbal abuse is also a form of child abuse, which includes screaming, threatening, etc. During the custody battle, the accusation of child abuse can affect the case.

  • Substance abuse, like taking alcohol, drugs, and even cigarettes, is considered in case of child custody. Reckless using of cigarettes or even casual use of drugs and alcohol can be the reason for losing custody.
  • If a parent takes away the child without letting the other parent know, that parent can lose custody.

Incarceration. An incarcerated parent is unable to provide a good life for his or her child such as financial support, a proper home, food, and parental guidance. In that case, the sole custody of the child will be granted to the other parent.

Mentally Unfit. If a parent is mentally unstable and he or she requires full treatment, that time the court won’t give that parent any responsibility for the child and the other parent will get sole custody of the children.

What To Do If A Parent Take Away Their Children?

In a word, it’s a crime. If a parent takes away and keeps the child away from another parent, he/she can take legal action. When you have sole physical custody, then the other parent doesn’t have the right to take away your child.

The other parent also cannot take the child more than scheduled parenting time. If he/she does so, you can take the following action.

  • Call the police immediately.
  • Contact the Probate or family court to file an enforcement motion.
  • File a criminal charge through local prosecutors.
  • Contact the National Center and make a complaint about Missing and Exploited children.
  • If the parent takes the child out of the country, contact that country’s embassy. Contact the U.S state Department if taken to the United States.

To Conclude!

If you still wonder, can a father take a child away from the mother? The answer is absolutely no if the mother has sole physical custody. Equally, a father can only if he has sole physical custody.

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