Fact or Fiction – Are Mothers More Likely to Get Custody of Children?
It is common knowledge that a child, no matter what age he or she is at, is more attached to the mother. It is both a biological fact and an unexplainable emotional bond. This belief is tested most in courts during a divorce proceeding when the question of a child’s custody arises. Most states do not honour any presumption that children absolutely must stay with their mothers after a divorce. The right to custody is a matter of balanced debate giving both parents an equal and fair chance to prove their ability to settle the matter in court.
Do Courts Favor the Mother in Custody Disputes?
What Affects the Custody Decisions?
The court considers various fundamental and more complex factors when deciding which parent to give the custody to. The first criterion is who is the primary caregiver? A caregiver is the parent who is best able to meet the child’s needs in terms of health, financial backing, and emotional balance. Legal terms aside, the primary caregiver is the parent who has been looking after the child and taking care of his/her feeding, waking, putting to bed, making frequent doctor’s appointments, arranging for child care, keeping track of school, and so on. In some families, both parents share these responsibilities, while in others just one handles it while the other might take care of the family’s finances. More often than not, the mother handles all these daily activities related to the home and the children, although it would be incorrect to make an assumption of it. Many mothers now work full time and designate child care to a nanny or day care, in which case the question of custody to either parent is debatable.
How Do the Parents Interact With the Child?
The court also looks at the parent-child relationship. If the child is of an appropriate age, he or she is called in court to give witness and validate with who he/she shares a good bond. A mother bears the child for nine months, a bond that cannot be scientifically explored or explained, thus giving her an edge in the relationship. Mothers also feed the child and care for them completely during their toddler years, which increase their closeness. Younger children, therefore, look to their mothers for comfort and protection. This gives the mother an edge in the likelihood to get custody.
In today’s day and age the law has made provision for accommodating both parents, thus giving joint custody arrangements. More often than not, mothers gain custody because fathers give it to them, knowing full well the bond the child shares with the mother. Thus, in some senses the traditional understanding of gender roles has not undergone a sea of change.
A mother winning the custody for her children is not entirely a myth, neither is it a norm. With the major changes in the legal system as well as the family makeup, gender roles are being altered and (in some cases) completely reversed, thus giving the fathers a fair chance at claiming custody and wanting to stay with the kids. Be sure to have an attorneythat is very familiar with divorce law in order to ensure that you get a fair shake.