Is the Law Inherently Biased Against Men in Custody Hearings?
In years past, courts overtly preferred to grant custody to mothers over fathers absent compelling reasons to act to the contrary. This preference was based on the presumption that young children, especially those in infancy, fared better under the sole care of the mother rather than the father. One reflection of this presumption is the reluctance to interrupt the breast feeding of an infant, an inevitable occurrence if the father gains sole custody rights.
The notion commonly exists that a woman wins custody hearings unless the opposition presents evidence demonstrating her to be unfit as a parent. This preconception can lead many fathers either not to fight for custody at all, or to fight with less than full might.
Stability of the Home
Since men leave the home in which the family resides far more frequently than women do pursuant to a parental split, the granting of custody to a father in his new residence involves the uprooting of the child into a new domicile, often in a different neighborhood or even a different town or state. Courts evaluate the best interest of the child as the backbone of a custody decision. Therefore, the continuity of schooling, friendships, and relations with nearby relatives weigh heavily in a court’s decision regarding which parent should keep primary custody. Disruptions of these relationships clearly go against the best interest of the child, and therefore, count as a strike against the case of the father who leaves the home and resides in a different area.
Primary Caregiver Standard
Courts will also consider which parent, if either, serves as the primary caregiver to the child. This role is defined as the parent who delivers the greater portion of the child’s daily needs such as being dressed, being fed, etc. Naturally, the older a child becomes, the less force this standard exerts on the court’s decision. Nonetheless, in most households, the fact remains that the mother is the parent who spends the most time interacting with children and delivering needs. Therefore, women usually gain consideration as the primary caregiver for the child. It is important to note that “providing the child’s basic needs” means actually delivering the needs to the child in a direct manner, such as preparing and serving a meal, and does not mean providing for the financial basis of those needs.
Get Legal Help
If you are involved in a custody battle, do not let preconceived notions prevent you from contesting your custody rights to the fullest extent, whether your goal is sole custody or joint custody. Do not allow the common, modern family structure, consisting of working father and stay-at-home mother, to stack the odds against you in court. Get help from a lawyer who fights for fathers’ rights. Contact or call the Law Office of Stanley E. Robison Jr. now at (812) 945-3055 for a confidential consultation.