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More Moms Give up Custody of Their Kids

Loving Father
Photograph by Getty Images

What mother in her right mind would choose to never see her kids? Is she cold, uncaring, irresponsible? Not if you ask Talyaa Liera: a mom who, after her divorce, gave up custody of her kids.

In an interview on 20/20's "With Parents Like These," Liera said she saw her decision as a necessity in the wake of a hard divorce. “There was an enormous amount of conflict, and it was wreaking havoc on my children,” she said. “I felt I had no other option but to take myself out of the equation and possibly sacrifice my relationship with my children to make things better for them.” (Liera’s ex husband disagrees with this story, saying no conflict exists.) In spite of the fact that Liera lives in Seattle and her kids in Pennsylvania, they remain close by Skype and IM.

Liera may be the rare mom in the bunch, but she’s by no means alone. In the U.S., an estimated 2.4 million mothers are noncustodial. Not surprisingly, they face a lot of flack. Another noncustodial mom, Rhana Reiko, admits, “I got death threats, people telling me that I am evil, that I’m human garbage. “Immediately, the response was that friends of mine would cross the street to get away from me.”

Reiko thinks this judgment is unfair (and we totally agree). “People have this idea of what a good mother is; I don’t fit that mold. But I definitely fit the mold of a terrific divorced dad,” she points out. “I think if I was a man, none of this would be an issue.”

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