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Bias in court: Moms versus dads and custody

When it comes to having custody of your children, it's important to you that you're treated fairly by the courts. The last thing anyone wants to deal with is an unspoken bias against fathers, but that's what many people worry they'll have to contend with. Is there really that much of a bias in court, though?

When it comes down to it, there used to be a bias in favor of mothers. They were traditionally the caretakers of children, and fathers traditionally served as providers who earned a wage. In the past, it was assumed that a mother would keep her children while the father continued to work and provide child support.

Today is different, and the society no longer has such a black-and-white view of parenting. Fathers can receive primary custody or visitation, joint custody or other arrangements. Judges who know that placing children with their fathers is in the children's best interests do so without hesitation in most situations.

Some unspoken biases that could have been used in the past include the claim that fathers don't have time for their children and jobs or that they don't know enough about rearing a child. The same could be true about a woman, though, especially in a society where either parent may be the breadwinner.

The courts really want to know who has a good relationship with the children, who can support the child emotionally and financially and who puts the child's needs first. The parent who meets the requirements of the judge and court is most likely to receive primary custody, regardless of gender.

That's not to say that you can't face a bias. If you believe you're struggling to obtain custody because of a bias in court, your attorney can help you fight back.

Source: The Spruce, "Do Moms and Dads Have Equal Parental Rights?," Debrina Washington, accessed April 21, 2017

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