Are Fathers Less Likely To Get Child Custody?
One of the most common and enduring myths about child custody is that a child’s mother is more likely to get custody than the father. The fact is, however, that there are no custody laws or guidelines at any level of government that give preference to a child’s mother in matters of child custody. This misconception often leads to fathers not even trying to win custody, even if they’re clearly the more fit parent.
Why Is There An Assumption At All?
The idea that mothers are more likely to get child custody than fathers is based on a somewhat obsolete view of family structure in which a father worked outside the home while a mother stayed home and was the primary child care provider.
In this scenario, fathers were assumed (in the mind of the public, not the law) to be less fit parents simply because they weren’t around the children much already and had little or no interest in raising them in the event of a divorce.
Obviously, those assumptions were not correct then, or now. Additionally, a family structure consisting of only one working parent is not the reality for many, many families in the country and so that ideology wouldn’t apply even if it were accurate–which it isn’t.
Unfortunately, the prevalence of those assumptions meant that many fathers didn’t (and often still don’t) even attempt to get child custody, which became a self-reinforcing loop that led to such widespread misinformation about bias in the system towards mothers.
What Are The Actual Child Custody Laws?
In almost every case of divorce that includes children, the prevailing rule is that a court must and will consider the best interests of the child when determining custody.
For newborn babies and young infants, there will likely be some implicit bias towards a mother simply because the baby needs to be breast fed for a period of time.
Outside of that specific case, however, the courts will evaluate a wide range of factors when determining a child’s best interests and make a decision based on their conclusions.
Hiring A Child Custody Lawyer
Fathers that are going through a divorce and want to retain child custody rights should hire a competent family law attorney to help guide them through the process.
An experienced attorney will help you understand what a court looks at when determining a child’s best interests and how to offset any bias towards giving custody to the child’s mother simply because she’s perceived to be a better caregiver.
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