Why Mothers are Losing Custody of their Kids to Abusers, and What You Can Do About It


Interview with Lundy Bancroft, the bestselling author of Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men about his new novel, IN CUSTODY (Amazon affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3AD1LtP).  It explains why mothers are losing custody of their kids to abusers, and what you can do about it.


Link to the video interview with Lundy Bancroft:   https://youtu.be/ag6TbrDBlvg


In Custody by Lundy Bancroft Book Summary (no spoilers)

Part humor, part romance, and part suspense, Lundy Bancroft's In Custody is the story of a young journalist who sets out to discover why a mother and her daughter have gone missing -- and finds herself digging into the dark world of family court corruption. In Custody is available in paperback & Kindle editions: (Amazon affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3AD1LtP) It tells the story of a mother who is not believed when she tells the court her husband is abusive. To make matters worse, the custody evaluator doesn’t believe her or the daughter either, and insists on joint custody with the father. We learn that the mother feels she has no choice but to run and escape in the night with the girl. But something goes wrong and it’s up to the police to find the missing girl, and up to journalist Carrie Green to find out the truth.


The new book is about corruption in the child custody system. It discusses why mothers are losing custody of their kids to abusers, and what YOU can do about it.


Key Quote in the Lundy Bancroft Author Interview about His New Book, In Custody

“We now have a [long] history of custody courts chronically refusing to protect children and refusing to look at the evidence. The custody courts are fond of saying, “Well, it's just his word against hers” and “we didn't have any evidence that he was abusing the children,” and that's usually not true, usually that's the courts’ excuse for refusing to look at the evidence.”



Family Law Court: Tips for Mothers, Professionals, and Caring Friends in High-Conflict Divorces (links at the bottom)

  1. Join organizations that seek family court reform and justice for mothers facing abusers in court. See various organizations below.
  2. Get educated on past court cases where mothers were stripped of their rights even though there was credible evidence of the father’s abuse. See list of women and their cases below.
  3. Become familiar with court abuse awareness advocates and researchers who document evidence of family law court bias. Scroll down to see links to the work of Dr. Joan S. Meier, George of Washington University.
  4. If you plan to run to protect your children (perhaps move closer to friends and family), it’s best to do so before filing for divorce. Listen to Lundy’s interview about the pros and cons and running and disappearing.
  5. Be aware of so-called “Father’s Rights” organizations, which despite the name, actually seek to strip mothers of child support and custody. They have talking points and claims that sound plausible but are incorrect and have been debunked by researchers.




Highlights Of The Video Interview With Lundy Bancroft On His New Book, In Custody



04:50 – Courts aren’t always doing a good job protecting kids, so sometimes the mother wants to take things into her own hands and flee with the child. IN CUSTODY tells the tale of a mother who escapes by means of an underground network. Do these exist?

06:20 – Why are mothers losing custody of their children in court? Why are courts stripping custody from mothers and granting 50/50 custody to violent men?


06:40 – History: Back in the 1970s and 1980s child support enforcement laws had an unintended consequence. Stricter collection of child support created a backlash. Fathers became aggressive and began grassroots organizations to spread disinformation. (It might have been better for the children to let abusers walk away, even if that meant less or no child support.)


07:30 – So-called “Father’s Rights” organizations sprang up. They were not interested in the legitimate concerns of fathers. They fought to throw out disclosures of violence and sexual abuse made by the mother, by the children, and by doctors and therapists. They started attracting abusers to their organizations, even recruiting them. They are mainly interested in owning and controlling their children, not in spending quality time with them (minute 15:00). Having said this, sometimes mothers are genuinely abusive and the father is a nurturing parent. Lundy talks about mothers who abuse their children at 30:00, and how the courts treat fathers who disclose a mother's abuse differently than mothers who disclose a father's abuse.


8:48 –  In the 1970s-80s, laws changed to give women the right to live without being subjected to abuse. No-fault divorce laws were designed to help abused women get away. The pent-up demand spiked the divorce rate up for 20 years.  In response, “Father’s Rights” organizations organized county by county, and court by court, to object to paying child support.


09:26 – Even though the new laws saved lives (reduced the suicide rate of women, domestic violence rate by and against women and men, and homicide rate of women killed by intimates — https://lifesavingdivorce.com/divorcesaveslives) the family law courts have not wanted to change. They dismiss disclosures of domestic violence, even from children.


A lot of divorce professionals are making money from this broken system. It’s a conflict of interest for them to do a good job: attorneys, custody evaluators, parenting coordinators, reunification therapists.


11:45 – Family Court is getting worse. It is enabling domestic violence. It is even forbidding mothers to protect their children.


12:30 – Mothers need to organize the way that men have. Merely passing laws isn’t enough. Mothers need to protest, picket, speak out in communities, and get on the news. They need to recruit just as abusive men have.  (See for example: Support the passage of Kayden's Law, named after a girl killed by her biological father during a court-mandated unsupervised visit. The father had been "diagnosed by a court-ordered psychiatrist as narcissistic, depressed, antisocial, and with suicidal ideation. He also had a history of assault charges, erratic behavior, threats, abused alcohol and prescription drugs, but he had no allegations involving violence against Kayden." But the judge, who had little experience, awarded him unsupervised visits.)


15:25 – Moms feel isolated. They need support and to know they are not alone. Mothers need to join organizations and get educated. See link to 11 organizations: Resources on Family Court Corruption & Reform  https://www.incustodythenovel.com/blank-page-2


18:00 – Know the telltale signs of “Father’s Rights” talking points.


21:55 – Yes, it is possible to combat Father’s Rights ideology and win in court in some cases, but in others, the mother may have no choice. She usually doesn’t have the time or money to appeal in court.


23:10 – Family Law Court doesn’t have to follow rules of evidence or rules of procedure.


26:30 – Some custody evaluators lie and don’t even talk with the children.


29:25 – There are mothers who are abusive to children. Sometimes the husband genuinely is a victim of a narcissistic wife.


31:44 – In the worst case scenarios, mothers take their children and run. It’s best to do this before divorce or a temporary custody order is filed. Otherwise it might be considered kidnapping or custodial interference.


35:20 – There are underground networks that help mothers who have credible evidence to run and hide.


39:00 – Get educated on the cases where the courts betrayed mothers who were trying to protect their children, even when there was substantial evidence of abuse by the father.  See the cases below, point #10.


40:00 – Pros and cons of going to criminal court in addition to family law court.


41:30 – Most kids side with their nurturing parent. But some side with the abuser. Lundy has a book, When Dad Hurts Mom, that will help you develop strategies to deal with this. (Hint: Children need to be encouraged to develop their own critical thinking skills.) Bancroft also has 4 new blog posts on this. See Point #14 below for links.

Also, in Gretchen's private Facebook group, The Life-Saving Divorce, a POLL was conducted. More than 8 in 10 parents who responded said that at least one of their children was supportive of them being divorced.  So, yes, there are some children who do not support the divorce, but they are in the minority when there are serious reasons for the divorce.


Poll: Is at least one of your children supportive of you being divorced?





1. —Read and share Lundy Bancroft’s novel, In Custody. Peruse his website for more information: http://www.incustodythenovel.com


2. —Join Groups that Specialize in Family Court Corruption and Reform https://www.incustodythenovel.com/blank-page-2


3. —Get Legal Help: DV LEAP - https://www.dvleap.org/


4. —Join a Community Organization in Your Area

These groups highlight the issue in local courts and news media. For example, this new organization: Mothers on the Rise. Reforming family court corruption and fighting against court abuse.  https://www.mothersontherise.org/


5. —Learn about Child Custody Justice  https://lundybancroft.com/child-custody-justice/


6. —Learn how to Fight Court Abuse in Custody Cases https://lundybancroft.com/child-custody-justice/what-can-i-do/


7. —Find Out the Pros and Cons of Calling Child Protective Services


8. —Know What to Expect in Family Court



9. —Get Prepared for Custody Evaluators and Forensic Evaluations



10. —Know the Stories of Mothers Who Had Evidence of the Father’s Abuse, But the Family Court Failed to Protect the Kids

Do an online search to see their stories.

    • Katie Tagle
    • Kathryn Sherlock - She lobbies lawmakers to pass "Kayden's Law," named after a Kathryn's daughter, Kayden Sherlock, who was killed by her biological father during a court-mandated unsupervised visit. The father had been "diagnosed by a court-ordered psychiatrist as narcissistic, depressed, antisocial, and with suicidal ideation. He also had a history of assault charges, erratic behavior, threats, abused alcohol and prescription drugs, but he had no allegations involving violence against Kayden." But the judge, who had little experience, awarded him unsupervised visits.)
    • Hera McLeod
    • Amy Hunter
    • Jacqueline Franchetti
    • CURRENTLY ACTIVE CASE:  Brynlee Larson, 12, and Ty Larson, 15 LINK TO story and to the children's social media pleas for help. https://www.propublica.org/article/parental-alienation-utah-livestream-siblings


11. —Get Connected




12. —Become Familiar with Court Abuse Awareness Advocates and Researchers Who Document Evidence of Court Bias. Make sure your attorney is aware of these.


• Short introduction to the topic of court bias against women who make abuse allegations against their husbands, and end up losing custody of their children: https://gwtoday.gwu.edu/familiestoo-family-courts-discredit-women%E2%80%99s-abuse-allegations


• Child Custody Outcomes in Cases Involving Parental Alienation and Abuse Allegations by Dr. Joan S. Meier, George Washington University.

Meier, Joan S. and Dickson, Sean and O'Sullivan, Chris and Rosen, Leora and Hayes, Jeffrey, Child Custody Outcomes in Cases Involving Parental Alienation and Abuse Allegations (2019). GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2019-56, GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-56, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3448062 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3448062


• Mapping Gender: Shedding Empirical Light on Family Courts’ Treatment of Cases Involving Abuse and Alienation

Meier, Joan S. and Dickson, Sean, Mapping Gender: Shedding Empirical Light on Family Courts’ Treatment of Cases Involving Abuse and Alienation (2017). Joan S. Meier & Sean Dickson, Mapping Gender: Shedding Empirical Light on Family Courts’ Treatment of Cases Involving Abuse and Alienation, 35 Law & Ineq. 311 (2017). ; Geo. Washington Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2017-43; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-43. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2999906


• Why Women Lose Custody by Dr. Naomi Cahn, the Justice Anthony M. Kennedy Distinguished Professor of Law and Nancy L. Buc '69 Research Professor in Democracy and Equity at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Article: Why Women Lose Custody



• Joyanna Silberg, Ph.D., The Child Survivor, https://www.thechildsurvivor.com/




13. —Listen to Podcasts on Family Court Corruption


"How Family Courts Treat Abuse and Accusations of Alienation."

Podcast with Dr. Joan S. Meier, professor of Clinical Law at George Washington University Law School, and Founder and Legal Director of the Domestic Violence Legal Empowerment and Appeals Project (DV LEAP). She is a nationally recognized expert on domestic violence and the law, appellate litigation, and clinical law teaching and has founded programs to provide legal representation, advocacy, and counseling to victims of domestic violence. Professor Meier has co-written several significant pieces of federal and state legislation, and frequently delivers presentations and trainings to attorneys, judges, and professional organizations.


14. —Know What to Do If Your Children Turn Against You


    • Why Kids Side with the Abuser by Lundy Bancroft
      • Part 1 Why the Child Doesn’t See Through the Abuser - https://lundybancroft.com/kids-who-side-with-the-abuser-part-1/
      • Part 2  More Reasons Why the Child Sides with the Abuser - https://lundybancroft.com/kids-who-side-with-the-abuser-part-2/
      • Part 3  Rebuilding the Relationship - https://lundybancroft.com/rebuilding-severed-relationships/
    • Why Kids Side with the Nurturing Parent: Part 1  They aren’t “caught in the middle” they know who the abusive parent is. - https://lundybancroft.com/kids-who-see-through-the-abuser/
    • Also read the book, When Dad Hurts Mom by Lundy Bancroft  https://amzn.to/3rTnD0h




15. —Know the facts about the dangers of fathers with anti-social traits.


    • Bad Fathers are Bad for Kids. See the Jaffee Study.  The Jaffee study found that when fathers engaged in high levels of antisocial behavior (see for the list of 7 examples in the link), the more time they lived with their children, the more conduct problems their children had. Their children’s behavior problems were far worse than those of other kids’ of the same age.
    • A Good Single-Parent Home is Better than a Toxic 2-Parent Married Home. Don't "stay for the kids." For the past 25 years, researchers have known that growing up in a very high-tension two-parent married home is destructive to the kids—worse than being raised by a single parent. These bad marriages have real, long-term negative effects on kids’ emotional well-being. Researchers compared the outcomes of two groups of adults who were brought up in destructive homes: those whose parents divorced versus those whose parents stayed. They discovered that the kids whose parents divorced had much better well-being on average.


Read Other Books by Lundy Bancroft

Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft


When Dad Hurts Mom by Lundy Bancroft



Are you going through a life-saving divorce and need support and clarity? I’d like to invite you to my private Facebook group, "Life-Saving Divorce for Separated or Divorced Christians." Just click the link and ANSWER the 4 QUESTIONS. This is a group for women and men of faith who have walked this path, or are considering it. Supporters and people helpers are also welcome.  I’ve written a book on divorce for Christians and other people of faith, The Life-Saving Divorce: Paperback: https://amzn.to/3cF1j25  Or eBook: https://amzn.to/3CCBsnr

Also, sign up for my email list below or HERE www.lifesavingdivorce.com/courage






Start Here



Does God Hate Divorce? God Gave Divorce Due to Hardhearted Abusers & Betrayers


Physical and Emotional Abuse & Infidelity


God Allows Divorce to Protect Victims


How to Find a Good Supportive Church


What If My Pastor Says It Would Be Wrong to Get Divorced for Abuse?



Divorce Saves Lives: The Surprising (Wonderful!) Truth About Divorce Nobody Told You

Will I Ever Find Love Again? Dating After Divorce: Good News

Finding Happiness and Health After Divorce


Thriving After Divorce: These Christians Tell their Stories

Self-Doubt, Second-Guessing Ourselves, and Gaslighting


Children and Divorce: Researchers Give Hope


High Conflict Divorce and Parenting


Recommended Reading List and Free Resources for Christians and Other People of Faith


Common Myths






GET THE BOOK! The Life-Saving Divorce is about divorces for very serious reasons: a pattern of sexual immorality, physical abuse, chronic emotional abuse, family-impairing addictions, abandonment, or severe neglect. This book will give you hope for your future, and optimism about your children. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.



Sign up for the Life-Saving Divorce email list. (You can unsubscribe at any time.)