Child abandonment' or 'neglect' does not apply here because the child was not abandoned by itself but left in the care of ONE parent. Now, that does not mean that your brother cannot pursue custody, and possibly cut her custody/visitation
Your brother can pursue this WITH a divorce or by itself in a separation
(called limited divorce
The Court decides on custody based on the rule of thumb of "best interest of the child
." This includes, but is not limited to, general stability of the parent, financial stability, indoctrination of the child in the current school and environment, household condition and living condition of the child, other persons living in the house, etc.
The courts generally do not like to split the custody 50/50 since this is hard on the child – imagine having to move every half a year.
One parent usually becomes the main caretaker (in many states this is called the managing custodian) and the other parent becomes the "weekend" parent (often called the posessory custodian) which is every Thursday, every other weekend, and alternating holidays. The minute points of the custody can either be decided by the parties or the Court, if the parties cannot come to an agreement.
Even if a parent does not get managing custody, they are almost guaranteed the posessory custody unless they have a drug problem, alcohol dependency, or an unsafe home environment. Abuse and or neglect of the child or previous children are an almost automatic bar for even posessory custody, although supervised visitation
may be granted by the Court.
Here, she can have her visitation limited by Statute: §§ 5-313; 5-525.1(b)(1), which allows termination of parental rights
for 'Abandonment or Extreme Parental Disinterest,' amongst other things:
If your brother can show that she is not a good parent, then her visitation shall be cut significantly (I am assuming that he'd be appointed the primary caretaker
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