mother(redirected from motherless)
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MOTHER, domestic relations. A woman who has borne a child.
2. It is generally the duty of a mother to support her child, when she is left a widow, until he becomes of age, or is able to maintain himself; 8 Watts, R. 366; and even after he becomes of age, if he be chargeable to the public, she may, perhaps, in all the states, be compelled, when she has sufficient means, to support him. But when the child has property sufficient for his support, she is not, even during his minority, obliged to maintain him. 1 Bro. C. C. 387; 2 Mass. R. 415; 4 Miss. R. 97.
3. When the father dies without leaving a testamentary guardian, at common law, the mother is entitled to be the guardian of the person and estate of the infant, until he arrives at fourteen years, when he is able to choose a guardian. Litt. sect. 123; 3 Co. 38; Co. Litt. 84 b; 2 Atk. 14; Com Dig. B, D, E; 7 Ves. 348. See 10 Mass. 135, 140; 15 Mass. 272; 4 Binn. 487; 4 Stew. & Part. 123; 2 Mass. 415; Harper, R. 9; 1 Root, R. 487.
4. In Pennsylvania, the orphans' court will, in such case, appoint a guardian until the infant shall attain his fourteenth year. During the joint lives of the parents, (q.v.) the father (q.v.) is alone responsible for the support of the children; and has the only control over them, except when in special cases the mother is allowed to have possession of them. 1 P. A. Browne's Rep. 143; 5 Binn. R. 520; 2 Serg. & Rawle 174. Vide 4 Binn. R. 492, 494.
5. The mother of a bastard child, as natural guardian, has a right to the custody and control of such child, and is bound to maintain it. 2 Mass. 109; 12 Mass. 387, 433; 2 John. 375; 15 John. 208; 6 S. & R. 255; 1 Ashmead, 55.