Single mothers are often viewed as second class citizens, which is unfortunate when you consider that the single mother’s rights are just as valid and legally binding as any other person’s legal rights. This article deals strictly with the rights of the mother; so perhaps it is easier to use the words biological mother’s rights, which is usually upheld in court. Often women are awarded custody based on the fact that the children should be with their biological mothers. While there is no law stating this, it is customary that as long as the biological mother is a fit parent, custody should be awarded to her. Whether she is married or not, a biological mother has the right to have custody of her child. This is so strongly adhered to that even in cases of adoption where the biological mother changes her mind after the adoption has gone through, she will in all likelihood be awarded the child, unless she is mentally unstable and deemed to be an unfit mother who is involved with substance abuse, homelessness and reckless and irresponsible behavior.
A biological mother’s rights also extend to unwed mothers; which means that a biological mother does not have to be married to exercise her rights as a parent under the law. There is also a difference between the legal rights of the child and the custodial parent’s rights. A custodial parent is the parent that has physical custody of the child, whereas legal custody refers to the parent who makes the decisions for the child, which can include education, religious upbringing, providing medical and dental insurance, and overseeing the child’s care.
While laws vary from state to state, many states do not separate physical custody from legal custody; still, some states do. Unwed mothers’ legal rights also fall under parental legal rights. What do you do if you feel that your single mother’s rights are being violated? Discrimination is still being practiced and often single mothers are refused work. Employers discriminate despite the fact that marital status is not to be used against a single mother trying to gain employment. Discrimination is illegal, yet it is being practiced. Why is there such a stigma against single mothers?
The same problems arise in looking for housing. Some apartment landlords will not rent to single mothers. Are they discriminating because they pass moral judgment? Single mothers are single because of circumstance, and it should not matter what the circumstances are. A single mother has the same rights as any other mother for the chance of a job, education, housing and private school for her child. This is surely discrimination and you should get an attorney who specializes in discrimination, to act in your behalf. You do not need to be judged because of your status as a single mother. The very idea that a mother will fight for her child speaks of responsibility and love. Contact the ACLU or talk to the local labor department. You do not have to be treated like a second class citizen and lose out on your rights.