Are Mothers More Likely to Get Custody During a Divorce?

Divorce is a sensitive and emotional process. During a divorce, custody is a common focal point. Here’s what you need to know about child custody.

The Assumption

The popular assumption is that mothers are more likely to receive custody of their children during a divorce. While it is common for mothers to receive custody during a divorce, fathers can also receive custody.

Who Decides Custody?

If parents can come to an agreement on a custody schedule, a judge does not need to be involved, but if they can’t, a judge will step in and determine what’s in the best interest of the child.

What Factors Are Considered In a Custody Battle?


A judge considers the relationship a child has with both parents. In this situation, the court will want to know how much time each parent spends with each child and the bond they have.


The court wants to know which parent is best suited to care for the child. Whether one parent has a job or not will not be the determining factor for being awarded custody, but it is a significant factor. The court wants to know who can best care for the child, such as who is best equipped to tend to the child’s needs. The judge will prefer to award custody to the parent who can provide a stable and consistent home.

Parent’s Health

The judge heavily considers a parent’s overall health, including mental health. The court will consider short-term and long-term mental and physical illnesses. Mental and physical illnesses can impact a parent’s capability of caring for a child, so the court wants to make sure the child is in a safe environment and the parent can care for the child. A mental or physical illness will not prevent a parent from being awarded custody. The judge will look at all the evidence that is presented before making a decision.

Parental Employment

Courts consider parental employment because it creates financial stability for the child. The courts may consider whether each parent is full-time or part-time employed, the location of the parent’s employment and commute time, and benefits, such as insurance, paid time off, and similar factors. Having a job does not qualify or disqualify a parent from being awarded custody.

Other factors that are considered during custody include but are not limited to:

  • History of substance abuse
  • Criminal records
  • History of child neglect
  • History of domestic violence

Are Courts More Likely to Award Custody to Mothers Than to Fathers?

Although many people believe this to be true, courts do not award mothers custody during a divorce simply because they are the mother of the child. The court’s sole concern is ruling in the best interest of the child. The court reviews all the evidence presented during the divorce and makes a ruling on this information.

Getting Help with Child Custody

Bergman Family Law is here to help you navigate through your divorce. My practice areas include dissolution of marriage, post-judgment modifications, paternity, prenuptial agreements, and domestic violence. Contact me today to learn more about custody during a divorce and how we can help.