Ask A Lawyer: How Do I Get Custody From A Bad Mother?


How can I get custody of my son? He is one year and seven months old. He is currently living part-time with his incompetent mother who works as a full-time stripper. I pay her 90% of the child care costs, and she is currently living in the projects.  She doe not pay rent, nor any food costs or medical costs. All of her work is done completely under the table and as a result none of her income is being reported to the child support office.  Therefore, she is living free of all costs at the taxpayer’s expense.

I have my son the majority of the time although my ex does not report this to the state.  Therefore, they pay her for full custody and I continue to pay $428 a month while working full-time to maintain those child support payments.

I would like a lawyer that can get me legal custody of my son so I can provide the safety and things he needs to lead a productive life. All I want is to be able to take care of him and know that he is safe. And in my custody he is. In hers, I greatly fear for his safety.



Only an attorney in your jurisdiction can provide you with an accurate analysis of your chances of prevailing on a motion to modify residential custody, but I can make a few general observations.

It appears that the mother in this instance has residential custody of your son on paper but only exercises minimal periods of custody with him.  This appears to be a basis for a change of circumstances.  The question I have (and others, including the judge, will have as well): why does mom have custody in the first place?  I am also interested in the reasons you fear for your son’s safety.  As a general rule, you should never relinquish your child to a situation you know to be abusive or neglectful.  If, however, your concerns relate more to his long term development, you will need to follow proper procedure and file a motion to change residential custody and receive a new order before you unilaterally restrict mom’s time with your son.   


Jill Best is the Litigation Manager for the Cordell & Cordell, P.C. office in Overland Park, Kansas. She practices exclusively in the area of domestic relations. She is licensed in the state of Missouri, the state of Kansas, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri, the U.S. District Court of Kansas and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Ms. Best is a frequent guest on Dads Divorce Live and has presented at numerous family law seminars for the public and fellow attorneys.

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One comment on “Ask A Lawyer: How Do I Get Custody From A Bad Mother?

    How do you get custody from a bad mother?
    Here is another way to approach it. It sounds like in reality, you have what you want and could realistically get as far as the scedule goes depending on all the circumstances. If she continues to maintain a stripper lifestyle she may not care how much time you have with him as lng as that cild support check keeps coming.Keep a log of all time you have etc. The longer you can show that pattern the better. You might want to wait. The 6,000 you would pay insupport in a year will likely be less than your legal fees to fight for what you already have.Do that for a year or two and let her self destruct and then go in with some history in your favor. Good luck.Mike Mastracci

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