Are That there is a Bias Against Men/Fathers in Child Custody Disputes Just Whining?

Are claims that there is a bias against men/fathers in child custody disputes just whining?

No. Such claims are true and while the problem is slowly abating, it still needs to be actively addressed and remedied.

It’s not a knock on mothers when the undeniable bias against fathers in child custody disputes is acknowledged. While the discrimination against men/fathers is decreasing (in response to an uprising of a few brave fathers and their supporters who can afford to fight for years and spend literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in court against the discrimination), many courts (far too many) still get lazy when it comes to analyzing parental fitness and awarding sole or primary custody to the mothers by default. Ask any divorce or child custody attorney. It’s undeniable.

There are plenty of cases in which the mother is awarded sole or primary physical custody of their children because the father is clearly unfit to be awarded sole, primary, or even joint custody. When that happens, it’s the right thing to do. Obviously.

But for every one of those cases, there are too many where a good, loving, capable father who has clearly demonstrated he can exercise joint custody and that this will, at the very least, do the children no harm in comparison to a scenario in which he’s the noncustodial parent, is denied joint custody because the court simply cannot conceive of a father successfully exercising joint custody. Ask any divorce or child custody attorney. It’s undeniable.

To claim that allegations of abuse don’t hurt a father’s chances in the child custody dispute is to lie through one’s teeth! Have you experienced how ludicrously, scandalously easy it is to get a protective order against a man compared to getting a protective order against a woman? How easy it is to forever poison a father’s chances at joint custody once the mother merely accuses him of spousal and/or child abuse? Even when the father is never convicted of any kind of abuse-related crime? Ask any domestic relations attorney. It’s undeniable.

I have heard (but have yet to study) claims that courts are more likely to believe a father’s accusations of parental alienation against a mother than vice versa. I’m skeptical, but willing to see what the verifiable facts show. Given how often mothers do engage in parental alienation, I’m not surprised when fathers accuse mothers of it. And while I unequivocally acknowledge that some fathers falsely accuse mothers of parental alienation, I cannot agree that most fathers do so. I will acknowledge that falsely accusing a mother of parental alienation is a surprisingly effective way for an unfit father to distract attention from his failings (but ladies, fathers learned the power of making “the right” false accusations from being on the receiving end of them for so long—accept it).

I do not blame good mothers for the misconduct of bad fathers. Come to think of it, I do not necessarily blame bad mothers for the misconduct of bad fathers. My points are 1) that sole custody is not good for children who have two loving, fit parents who live in close enough proximity to each other to make joint custody feasible (the best parent is both parents); and 2) courts still have a long way to go to root out sexual discrimination against fathers in physical custody awards.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277



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