Historically women have been responsible for pro- viding the primary care of their children. This notion of responsi- bility for the care and well-being of children is central to the definition of motherhood. When mothers relinquish custody of their children prior to their 18th birthday, they elicit suspicions of deviance and nonnormality. There are an estimated 500,000 to 1,200,000 noncustodial mothers in the United States, with approxi- mately 75% being voluntary relinquishers. This chapter identifies, through a review of the social science literature on maternal noncustody and examination of a specific study, the broad range of reasons for becoming a noncustodial mother, as well as provides a clearer picture of the noncustodial mother-child relationship pursuant to relinquishment. An overall theme from the literature was a general societal disapproval regarding maternal custody relinquishment, which in the study described, negatively affected respondents self- perceptions. This study describes the social situation of women who voluntarily gave up custody of one or more biological children. Retrospective data identifying the factors influencing custody relinquishment and the events leading up to giving up custody are examined. Relationships between noncustodial mothers and their children are ex-plored pursuant to relinquishment, as well as the extent to which mothers regretted giving up their children. A sample of 130 noncustodial mothers responded to a 137-item life history questionnaire and three clinical assessment scales. One- hundred-and-two of the participants engaged in two- to five-hour interviews. Findings revealed that approximately 86% of the respon- dents cited multiple reasons for custody relinquishment. Financial considerations, emotional problems, threats of legal custody fights, and being in a destructive relationship with mate emerged as the most frequently reported reasons for giving up ones children. The reasons for relinquishment as well as how the decision was handled with children had the greatest impact on the mother-child relation- ship. Almost 97% of the mothers actively maintained relationships with children following relinquishment. Seventy percent of those sampled were satisfied with their decision to relinquish in retrospect. Finally, recommendations for policy and practice were discussed. Agency and legal policies and procedures should reflect a sensitivity to conditions under which most mothers relinquish their minor chil- dren, especially a supportive national family policy. The provision of a child or family allowance, compulsory court-based mediation, and a more uniform state-to-state support enforcement are recom- mended. Practitioners need to employ contextually-specific interac- tions for noncustodial mothers and their families, as high anxiety may characterize the emotions of this variable type of single parent. Professionals interacting with potential noncustodial mothers should provide for them to make a more informed and less pressured deci- sion regarding relinquishment.