Mother's who give up custody of a child should not be judged harshly or viewed negatively. There are times when giving up custody is the proper thing to do and truly in the child's "best interest."
The thought of “losing” a child to your spouse is one no mother ever wants to consider, but there exist unfortunate scenarios where sometimes, it might be for the best, even if just for a short amount of time. As hard as it might be, sometimes for the sake of the child’s well-being and overall welfare, you might have to make the tough choice to give up full custody.
For example, in family law there exists something called the “Best Interest of the Child” Standard, which is exactly what it sounds like: depending on the parents, one may be more individually prepared to care for the child over the other, whether that be through income, mental health, outside family support, what have you.
But, what are some of those specific scenarios where you should take a step back and remove yourself from the equation, thinking only of your son or daughter and their best interests?
Below are 3 scenarios that play a role in whether or not you should give up custody of your child:
1. You are unable to offer your child financial stability
Should your spouse have a steadier job, or more experience in his or her job that would make it unlikely for them to lose it, it might be wise to trust them to take care of your child without the hassle of child support or alimony coming between you.
Not only will your child have a secure place to sleep at night, but you will not have to worry about balancing work and your budget in order to afford your time with them, should they be traveling between homes for lengths of time. Instead, you can be saving money to spend more quality time with them on vacation, out to dinner, out to a movie, etc. which will be more memorable than staying indoors because you’re unable to otherwise plan fun activities with them on your limited budget.
2. You aren't mentally healthy enough to care for your child
Divorce is one of the most stressful events in a person’s life, right up there with moving and getting married in the first place. If you find yourself incapable of even taking care of yourself after a possibly messy divorce, how can you expect to take care of your child as well, wholly and unconditionally?
There’s no shame in having to take some time off from the world, including your friends and family, if that’s what you need in order to mentally and emotionally recuperate from your unfortunate situation.
With this in mind, should your spouse be more mentally prepared to continue with their lifestyle after the divorce, it might be healthier for your child to be within their custody for a period of time while you give yourself the same time to heal instead. After all, nothing is more traumatic to a child than seeing their mother or father absolutely torn apart emotionally, particularly when there is nothing they can do to help.
Witnessing such a scene might leave your child to wonder if the divorce is their fault if there was anything they should’ve done better or differently to prevent it, etc., and every parent who's gone through a particularly messy divorce knows this is not something you want to leave impressed on your children.
3. You don't have a network of family or friends supporting you
Perhaps your spouse has family and friends living closer to home and you don't that supportive network. If that’s the case, how important is it for your child to have extended family members there within their reach? Would they have more opportunities to spend time with cousins, uncles, and aunts, maybe even helping out their grandparents day to day?
Keep in mind that a divorce is not only hard on you and your spouse, but also life-changing for your child or children, and they will need as much support and uplifting words as possible from the people they know and are most familiar with: family members.
If your spouse happens to be closer to their family members, whether physically or emotionally, it may be best to offer your child the opportunity to go to them for comfort, for a period of time until they are allowed to heal.
None of this mean you won't still play a HUGE role in your children's lives. You should still be playing an active role in their everyday lives through some form of communication and one on one time with the children.
Giving up custody of your child doesn’t mean you’re unfairly expected to completely remove yourself from their lives-- in fact, voluntarily giving up custody is a very brave and selfless act, particularly when you know the child is more likely to thrive in the care of the other spouse. Do not see yourself as a bad parent if you choose to give up custody of your child, see yourself for what you are: a good parent, with your child’s best interests in mind.
Continue to be a part of their lives, actively engage yourself in their interests, their activities, their desires, while also having peace of mind in knowing they are being well taken care of in the best ways possible.