Sometimes a husband/father is legitimately ruled against in a child custody case because he is unfit to exercise custody. Sometimes that unfitness may be his own fault (he’s abusive and/or neglectful), other times the unfitness may be due to circumstances beyond his control (disabled or has a job and/or job schedule that is incompatible with exercising custody).
But where there is no parental unfitness, why do so many fathers lose on the issue of custody? Simple:
The idea (in some courts) that women are presumptively better parents than are men. The idea (in other courts) that no matter how well a man can prove himself to be a fit parent the conventional wisdom accepts the woman as an even better parent. The idea (in still other courts) that a mother’s contributions to a child’s upbringing are more important than a father’s.
Sometimes it’s institutionalized sexism. The “it’s been this way for so long, so it’s going to stay this way” way of thinking.
It is often subconscious sexism.
It is often sexism that is not malicious but born out of a sincerely held—though erroneous—belief (much like some people who are racist because they believe other races are inferior and not because of any kind of hatred for other races).
But it’s sexism just the same. Plain and simple.
Fortunately, sexist custody awards are quietly and relatively quickly (given how slowly the wheels of justice generally turn) becoming a thing of the past.
It’s getting harder and harder to rule against fit men on the issue of custody. Getting harder to justify the silly “reasons” that have been given for denying men sole or joint custody. Getting harder to write off men as generally uncaring, uninterested, and incapable as parents. Getting harder to justify the silly “reasons” that have been given for denying men sole or joint custody. Sadly (but more factually accurately), it’s getting harder to justify presuming all women generally to be “natural born” parental wonders.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277