The effects of disability in women on child custody

Women with mobility disabilities in Florida may worry about custodial battles if they are no longer in a relationship with their partner. This may become even worse if the father has no disabilities as they fear the court may rule in the father’s favor because it may view him as a better caregiver.

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, every year, 145,000 American women with serious mobility disabilities become pregnant. This number does not include non-civilians and women who are institutionalized. The study published by the NIH suggests that there is an underground movement of women advocating for each other to fulfil their dreams of motherhood.

Still, what happens to these women if after fulfilling this dream their partners or themselves end the relationship? The American Bar Association cites one such case. In 2009, a veteran quadriplegic woman struggled to keep her son after allegations made by her ex-boyfriend. He claimed that due to her condition, she was not fit to care for the ten-week-old baby and could not wake up to assist her son if he was distressed. He filed for full custody of the child.

In truth, the mother had made several preparations ahead of time for her son. She did so by working with an occupational therapist who specialized in patients who were expectant mothers. She had also gone through great pains to transform her home so that it was ideal for her to parent. Not only did she have special equipment in place, but she also had personal assistants, two able-bodied family members and a service dog.

She ultimately won the case and retained custody of her son. Sadly, many women do lose custody of their children for no other reason but their disability.

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Beverly L . Brennan A PARTNER AT MCLAUGHLIN & STERN, LLP - NAPLES, FLORIDA ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

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