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Is custody bias still an issue?

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2020 | Family Law

In the past, people would often expect that when it came to custody the court would almost always give women the majority of parenting time with children. This was common because when divorce became more prevalent, it was typical for mothers to be the main caregivers whereas fathers were more the wage earners in a household. Therefore, it made sense to keep children with their mothers. 

Times have changed, though. Today’s families often have two working parents, and some have fathers who stay at home with the children. The dynamics changed, but you may wonder if court decisions have changed to reflect this. 

Bias still exists 

According to Science Daily, bias towards fathers in custody decisions still exists. It does not seem to be something judges do consciously. In fact, many of them try to be very open-minded and feel they are forward-thinking in making their rulings. They do not realize they are showing bias. 

However, personal ideas about gender roles tend to bleed into rulings despite a judge trying not to let their own opinions influence their decisions. It also seems that judges who have a background in family law are more likely to make bias decisions than those who do not have a family law background. 

Judges whose personal opinions lean towards traditional gender roles will often award the majority of parenting time to the mother in a case. This can be harmful to the family in that the children have less time with their father and may not be able to develop a strong relationship with him. 

Why this happens 

It is human nature to let your own ideas cloud your judgment. The legal system does not account for this. It assumes judges will not let their own thoughts affect their rulings and does not recognize the potential for bias.