Skip to content

Child Custody | Family

How Much Does a Mothers’ Rights Lawyer Cost?

6 min read
Francesca Toledo, J.D.

by Francesca Toledo, J.D.

Any mothers facing legal issues around parenting their children would benefit from speaking with a local family lawyer. Whether you’re in the middle of a divorce, issue with state authorities, or facing bad behavior from a co-parent, a lawyer can help protect your rights.

Mothers’ rights attorneys typically charge a retainer fee and subsequently an hourly fee, depending on how many hours your case requires. A mother’s rights lawyer will typically charge a retainer fee to begin. Then, as needed, they will charge hourly. There is no “average” amount a mother’s rights lawyer will cost, as it all depends on the complexity of your case and the work required. In most full representation cases, mothers can expect to spend between $3,000 to $5,000 for an initial retainer, with rates from $300 to $500 for hourly work. If your case is complete before the retainer is used up, you can expect the remainder to be returned to you.

Limited representation lawyers can provide affordable help starting from $500 to $1,500, with additional discounts for full representation. Unbundled Legal Help offers more affordable support in mother’s rights cases, with a free consultation and rates starting between $500 and $1,500 for limited representation.

Can the Court Take Away a Mother’s Rights?

Yes. In the most unfortunate cases, a judge may decide it is in the best interest of the child to strip the mother of her rights. 

In most cases where a mother’s rights are taken away, it is because she has been deemed unfit. Reasons vary but may include drug use, child abuse, or abandonment. 

Taking a mother’s rights away altogether is a less common occurrence, because family court judges recognize the significance a mother plays in a child’s life. While it is not the preferred scenario for most judges, a negative child custody evaluation or an opposing lawyer can certainly have the court considering it.

Can a Mothers’ Rights Lawyer Help Protect Your Rights?

Yes. A mother’s rights lawyer can help you understand and protect your rights as a mother. 

If you’re currently facing any issues regarding your rights, a mother’s rights lawyer will do everything necessary to help you resolve them. A family law attorney may:

  • Review the details of your situation and provide advice
  • Draft and file court documents
  • Respond to or negotiate with other lawyers
  • Build a strong case and legal strategy
  • Represent you in legal proceedings at court or in negotiations

An unbundled lawyer may be your best shot at getting reasonably priced, reliable legal guidance. An unbundled lawyer is a lawyer like any other, but prices their services differently. When you hire an unbundled lawyer, you’re willing to take on some of the work on your case, relying on your attorney for limited critical parts of your case. 

What Rights Do Mothers Have?

Mothers have legal rights in the family courts and accordingly also have special responsibilities regarding their children, such as:

  • Giving their child love, support, and guidance
  • Providing a safe home for their child
  • Protecting and disciplining
  • Making important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing

Child Custody and Visitation

If it is in the best interests of the child, a mother is entitled to custody of her child. However, child custody arrangements look different in every situation. Depending on the circumstances, a court can grant a mother some forms of custody but not others. For example, a mother could have legal custody and decisionmaking authority, but still have to share physical custody. Child custody battles may also entail details like virtual visitations, the right to be the “backup” caretaker, or the need to refuse visitation to a dangerous co-parent.

Child Support

Child support helps financially provide for a child’s care and education.  The court typically rules on child support at the same time as it handles divorce and custody issues. In most states, the child support amount is based on guidelines established by the state. These guidelines consider what both parents earn, along with how time is divided between parents under their custody arrangement.

Does a Mother Have More Rights Than a Father?

Many believe that mothers have more rights than fathers, or at least a preference over a child’s father. This often stems from the thought that mothers are the primary caretakers, nurturing and protecting their children better than fathers.

A family court judge must always consider what is best for the child, which is a primary consideration when making tough decisions. This “best interests” standard has no gender preference. However, some states may presume the mother should get custody while the father should be the non-custodial parent, unless a lawyer can convince the judge otherwise. Under the law, mothers generally do not have more rights than fathers, but it does not mean you should not fight for your rights.

Does an Unmarried, Single Mother Have All the Same Rights?

Under most jurisdictions, the mother is the natural guardian of a child that is born out of wedlock. Unwed mothers will automatically have physical and legal custody of the child.

Because mothers have custody of their children, they are entitled to receive child support from the father in most cases. To receive child support from the child’s father, mothers must file a paternity action to have the father named as the legally recognized father.  

When there is a paternity case, the court may help decide on an appropriate parenting plan, timesharing arrangement, and child support payments.  

Either parent can file for paternity, and either parent can seek primary timesharing with the child.

What Rights Does a Birth Mother Facing Adoption Have?

Even if you are considering putting your child up for adoption, you still have rights as a mother throughout the process. These are some of those rights:

  • The right to choose adoptive parents: You will have the opportunity to select your child’s adoptive parents, allowing you to make the best possible decision for your child’s life and future.
  • The right to choose your post-adoption relationship: Every post-adoption relationship is different, depending on what birth mothers and adoptive parents prefer and feel comfortable with. While you may choose to completely cut all ties with your child and their new parents, you can also choose to keep an open communication, or any other relationship dynamic you’d like.
  • The right to choose when to sign the adoption paperwork: No one should pressure you to sign adoption paperwork. You’re making a major life decision, and some mothers require more time than others. If you’ve given birth and have yet to sign the paperwork, many situations allow mothers a few days after birth to recover mentally and physically before signing. 
  • The right to legal counsel: While you are not required to have legal counsel, it is often helpful to have a lawyer to better understand the adoption process and your rights. 
  • The right to change your mind: Deciding to give your child up for adoption is not a decision that’s taken lightly. You may, at some point, decide this is not the best route for you and your child. Therefore, you can change your mind before committing to adoption.

Unbundled Legal Help can connect you with a qualified mothers’ rights attorney in your area. Rates for unbundled services start at $500 – $1,500, and full representation is also available.

Related Blog Posts

Ready to Talk to a Lawyer?

Receive a free consultation with a more affordable lawyer in your area