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Research doesn't show anti-father sentiment in court

The accepted thought is that family law judges favor mothers when ruling on child custody, but a thorough study of an analysis conducted by national research center shows that it isn't so.

In fact, it appears that mothers gain custody more frequently than fathers do because fathers voluntarily give custody to mothers. There is, it seems, no bias among judges in favor of mothers. Fathers do not seek custody in great numbers during divorce proceedings.

Here is a glimpse at some of the interesting findings of the analysis:

  • Married fathers are the primary care parent of children for 6.5 hours each week. Mothers spend 12.9 hours. Since most married couples now work, mothers work outside the home roughly the same amount of hours but spend twice as much time on child-care issues than fathers.
  • Divorced or unwed fathers spend considerably less time with their children than their married counterparts. When children do not live with their dads, they see their father more than once a week in 22 percent of incidents. Nearly 30 percent of fathers see their kids between one and four times each month, and 27 percent of them do not see their children.
  • Statistics show that fathers frequently give up child custody voluntarily. In more than half, or 51 percent of cases, the two parents agree that the children live with their mother. In 29 percent of cases, the decision is made without the input of any third party. Parents who go through mediation decided mothers should raise the kids in 11 percent of cases. That equals 91 percent of cases that are decided without a ruling from the court systems.

Given how many mothers have primary physical custody of their children, fathers who have not studied such statistics could feel judges have a bias against them. The numbers bear out, however, that children overwhelmingly live with their mothers because fathers agree to the arrangement.

Fathers who desire physical custody of their children should not feel discriminated against should their case wind up before a judge. Judges' decisions did not lead to mother-dominated custody precedents.

Source: Huffington Post, "Dispelling The Myth Of Gender Bias In The Family Court System," Cathy Meyer, July 10, 2012

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