Normally, I do not like to comment on the intersection of pop culture and family law because quite often, what happens in a celebrity divorce or child custody dispute does not arise or get handled the same way as would be the case for those of us who are not celebrities, but because this was a matter of fathers seeking joint custody of his children, and because (based upon the little I have read on the subject) the court did not find Brad Pitt to be an unfit parent, I will comment.
I will phrase the question this way: is it fair for a parentally fit father to be awarded joint custody of his own children? The answer to this question is obvious. Of course it’s fair. Now just because it’s fair does not mean that every parentally fit father should be awarded joint physical custody of his children. There may be situations where, through no fault of the fathers, it is still determined to be in the child’s best interest that the father not exercise joint physical custody of the child. Granted, I can’t think of a scenario offhand where that would be the case, but the point is that just it’s fair to treat fathers no differently than mothers when it comes to the question of which is the “better” parent to exercise physical custody of children.
This is a bête noire for me. Although things are getting better for fathers who are trying to remain in their children’s lives following separation and divorce (a generation or two ago, if a father had wanted joint, let alone soul, custody of his children, he did not have a snowballs chance in hell, if mother was also a fit parent; even if he could prove that he was clearly the superior and only fit parent, he still had a real fight on his hands and often came out the loser), there is still a horrible bias against men when awarding custody of children. Those who believe that mothers are inherently superior parents for children of any age (with the exception of a nursing child) are sexists, pure and simple. Do your research. The science doesn’t back the bias. Ask adults who were children of divorce how they felt when they had their time with their father artificially limited to every other weekend and a few holidays. Ask them and their fathers what that did to their relationship. The irreparable damage it caused. Treating fathers as second-class parents is a shameful tragedy that the legal system perpetrates with impunity.
So when a court awards joint custody to it parents whose children love them both and who want to have a strong relationship with both parents as possible, how could anyone conclude that is in any way unfair?
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277