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Noncustodial Mother

  • By: Diana L. Gustafson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

A woman who lives apart from her minor children is commonly called a noncustodial mother—a term that suggests a temporary or permanent arrangement that is formalized by the courts. In these cases, the arrangement may also involve the loss of some or all parental rights to make decisions about discipline, health and medical treatment, education, and moral and religious training of the child. For most women, however, nonresidency is an informal arrangement. Census data in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and the United States indicate a growing number of women are living apart from their minor children, although noncustodial mothers constitute a small proportion of nonresident parents.

A woman may become noncustodial as a result of actions by the courts when a child is apprehended, by ...

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