Statistics show that women are awarded child custody in nearly 90 percent of all cases. And while a bias against men in child custody cases has been around for decades, let’s explain why this is happening from a legal perspective.
We invited our Salt Lake City child custody attorney from the Emy A Cordano, Attorney At Law to join our discussion today. So why are women generally given the preference over men when awarding child custody?
Why the mother is more likely to be awarded child custody?
Reasons why women get primary or sole physical custody of children in a divorce more often than men can vary from one case to another, but it is true that courts in Utah and all across the United States tend to be biased against men when awarding child custody for a variety of reasons.
For better or worse, culture plays a predominant role in determining child custody. From a cultural and historic perspective, women have always been considered superior parents based on a questionable assumption that infants and young children would not be able to survive without a mother since men cannot nurse and breastfeed babies.
And while this notion persists in many Utah family courts, it does not change the fact that baseless and unjustified bias against men could constitute gender discrimination. A man would be able to fight back against the cultural bias and ensure a fair trial if he is represented by an experienced child custody attorney in Salt Lake City or elsewhere in Utah.
Bias against men in family courts could be gender discrimination
Our lawyers explain that just because women are considered culturally better at parenting than men does not give the court a legal right to award more child custody rights to the mother unless there are facts proving that the child’s best interests would be met if he or she remains to live with the mother.
In addition to that, a judge may argue that the mother should be given primary or sole physical custody rights if she was the primary caregiver of the children prior to the dissolution of marriage. But that does not automatically make the father unfit to assume the role of the primary caregiver of the child after the divorce. This argument is especially true when the children are old enough that they do not require 24/7 supervision from their parents.
The mere notion that women are primary caregivers is losing its practical and legal value by the day given that an increasing number of women pursue their career while more men work from home. There are even cases when the mother brings home the primary income, while the father is unemployed.
The ‘men earn more than women’ stereotype is getting old
Just like the obsolete notion that only women are better primary caregivers, the notion that “men earn more than women” is getting old. And yet many judges are still guided by this notion when allocating child custody rights in Salt Lake City and all across Utah. The problem is that there is a stereotype that men are more capable of recovering from divorce financially compared to women. And while this is true in most cases, it cannot be true in 100 percent of all cases.
Many courts tend to believe that it makes sense to award the mother with primary or sole custody of the children based on a questionable assumption that the father will be able to provide the mother with child support and alimony payments after the divorce. “If tables were turned, and the woman would have to pay child support and alimony to her former husband, this would be unpractical, or so judges think,” says our Salt Lake City child custody attorney at the Emy A Cordano, Attorney At Law.
Are you a father who is getting divorced and fear that the court will be guided by stereotypes when awarding child custody rights? Seek legal advice from our best family law lawyers in Utah. Call at 801-804-5152 or complete this contact form to schedule a legal consultation.