Are Custody Laws Gender Neutral?

Children are the backbone of marriage, and the parents should nourish and support them in their growing years. However, some problems might arise between parents making divorce the only option. Besides having a significant impact on the children, divorce also brings a dilemma to the court as to whom to grant custody of the child.
Child custody disputes often become heated, with each parent thinking they know what’s best for their child. When you can’t work out a resolution, the court steps in to decide the child custody and ensure visitation arrangements are in the child’s or children’s best interests.
However, regardless of the recent improvements in California child custody laws, gender bias is often an issue in child custody arrangements.

The History of Gender Stereotypes in Child Custody

Most court systems agree that joint custody is the best-case scenario for a child. Back in the day, the courts’ systems focused on giving equal parental rights to keep the family unit together. Unfortunately, some courts favored the mothers because society views them as better caretakers.
The United States court systems followed a famous law concept referred to as “tender years doctrine.” It stated that children are more attached to their mothers. This made it nearly impossible for the fathers to have a say in the child’s custody. However, the state abolished the doctrine in 1980 since it was against the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Types of Child Custody

Physical and Legal custody are the common types of child custody. Physical custody allows one parent to have a child live with them. Some courts award joint physical custody when a child spends most of the time with both parents. Joint custody works best if parents live close to each other.
Legal custody gives parents the right and obligation to decide about the child’s upbringing. That means the parent can decide on the child’s education, medical care, and religious upbringing. The courts often award joint legal custody that involves both parents in decision making.

How Court Systems Overcome Gender Bias

Today, courts in California and across the U.S no longer use the “tender years doctrine.” Instead, California uses various laws to set aside child custody discrepancies. The laws call for judges to use the child’s best interests as the determining factor.
This way, the court awards custody to the child’s primary caregiver. This is the parent who meets the everyday needs of the child. However, while the parent might provide everything, the following factors are also considered:

  • Income of both parents
  • Parent involvement
  • Home life stability
  • Child’s emotional and physical needs
  • Overall ability to care for the child/children

Is Gender Bias Still Present?

Theoretically, gender bias doesn’t exist in the court system. However, it still impacts court decisions on child custody. In most instances, judges follow the tendency that women are fit to oversee the primary care of the child. The bias is also present in middle and lower-income families.

Your Custody Rights as a Parent

As a father, you might think that the mother to your children will get automatic custody rights. However, you also deserve to get partial or primary custody rights.
You can prove that you are fully capable of raising and caring for your child. You also deserve a say in their education and medical care if you earn partial custody.

Reasons to Hire a Family Law Lawyer

You might think that your child custody case will be simple if you and your spouse get along well. Unfortunately, child custody California laws are complex, and hiring a family lawyer will be the best bet. Regardless of how well prepared you are, a custody lawyer will present your case and ensure gender bias isn’t a deciding factor.
A family lawyer will help you gather evidence to support your ability to care for your child/ children. Therefore, it is essential to gather any evidence you might already have to give your lawyer an upper hand in fighting for your custody rights.
A child custody lawyer will also help you with other documentation, such as information about your child’s medical history and education needs. This information helps you determine the amount of money and time you need to support the child by yourself.
The lawyer also maintains civility between the parents. This is mainly when one parent is aggressive towards the other. A lawyer maintains the peace needed to come up with a custody agreement. Further, a family lawyer in California answers all the questions surrounding the child custody arrangement process. This way, you’ll have ultimate peace of mind when navigating the custody case.

Hire The Best Family Lawyer Today!

Handling a child custody case is scary, and gender bias might make you lose hope of getting your child’s custody. However, the Supreme and High Courts emphasize gender-neutral laws in child custody in the child’s best interests. Remember to consult with a family lawyer if you have concerns about the custody arrangement process. Here at Wade Law Group, we have exceptional family lawyers who can help you get the best outcome for your child custody case. Call us today at 888-909-9430 to schedule an appointment with our professional attorneys.

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