Tag: bias

Is There Anything I Can Do for Winning Custody After the Gal Report Is Favoring My Ex? Is Paying More to My Attorneys Worth It or No?

After you ask, “Is there anything I can do for winning custody after the GAL report is favoring my ex? Is paying more to my attorneys worth it or no?,” then you need to ask these questions:

Is the GAL’s report favoring my ex accurate? Otherwise stated, “Am I unfit to be awarded custody (whether that be sole custody or joint custody or equal custody?” If you are unfit to be awarded the custody you want or any kind of custody, you may have different and bigger obstacles than the GAL’s report standing in your way.

If the GAL’s report favoring you ex is inaccurate and/or biased, are the inaccuracies and biases significant and relevant?

If so, can you prove it? Otherwise stated, do you have admissible evidence that conclusively establishes the the GAL’s report is inaccurate and/or biased? If you have evidence of some minor or irrelevant inaccuracies, that likely won’t be enough to persuade the court to disregard the report and recommendations of the GAL. If, however, you can show the GAL is incompetent, did shoddy work, and/or indulged personal biases irrespective of the facts, that might (might) be enough to get the report thrown out or at least to get the court to give the report less credence.

So, in response to the question of whether it is worth it to pay your attorneys more money in an effort to discredit the GAL’s reports and recommendations, if you conclude (honestly) that 1) you are fit to be awarded the custody award you seek AND you can prove it; 2) the GAL’s report and recommendations are significantly inaccurate and/or biased AND you can prove it; 3) you have the money and a good attorney necessary to make a winning presentation to the court; AND 4) you conclude it’s worth risking the money and effort to make the attempt, then the answer is yes.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Is It Possible to Discredit a Biased Custody Evaluation Full of Unsubstantiated and False Claims?

Yes, it is possible, but not always possible, and when it is possible it is often very difficult to accomplish.

Difficult not because custody evaluators are particularly competent (they typically are not, in my experience) but because the family law system appears to love custody evaluations.

And why does the system love custody evaluations?

  • One main reason: it takes the job of reviewing and analyzing the child custody evidence off the judge’s plate.
  • Another reason: some courts honestly find custody evaluations truly informative. In fairness, a custody evaluator who gathers relevant facts, analyzes them clearly and understandably, and makes cogent recommendations based upon the evidence and analysis with minimal reliance on subjective opinion provides a valuable service to parents and court alike. Rarely, however, are a custody evaluation performed and the recommendations made competently.
  • Another reason: regardless of whether the judge was being sensitive and thorough in analyzing the child custody issues, it makes the judge look that way.
  • Another reason: if the judge wants to rule a certain way and the custody evaluation supports what the judge wants to do, the judge can praise and cite to the custody evaluation (if the judge wants to rule a certain way and the custody evaluation is contrary to what the judge wants to do, the judge can simply (even blithely) dismiss the evaluator and evaluation—in classic 20/20 hindsight fashion—as “insufficient” or “incomplete” or “lacking detail” or “poorly reasoned” or “failing to address [fill in the blank here]” or “subjective”, etc. You may wonder whether it is fair to say such things of a custody evaluator and the evaluator’s report. It usually is, but even if it’s not (i.e., the evaluator did a commendable job), that won’t stop a judge who’s bent on ruling the way the judge wants to rule).

How do you refute an incompetent/inaccurate custody evaluation and recommendations? I could give you checklist, but that wouldn’t apply in all situations. The harsh reality: to refute and overcome a bad custody evaluation (“bad” meaning defective, not “performed competently, but adverse to me”) you will need to be prepared to spend a lot of money on 1) an excellent, skilled, fearless attorney; and 2) a rebuttal expert of your own who is more qualified and experienced and more articulate than the custody evaluator you are seeking to discredit. The attorney and rebuttal expert you need don’t come cheap.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

If each parent is fully capable, will the court still give full custody to mom?

If both parents are wonderful, will the court still lean towards full custody to the mother?

[Note: I am a divorce lawyer of 25 years. I am not bitter about “what happened to me in my divorce” as I am not divorced. I have no axe to grind with women or mothers (I love my mother, sisters, wife, and daughters dearly and without reservation). With these facts in mind, I answer your question as follows below.] 

Not exactly. But close. 

While the courts are finally starting to confront and slowly abolish discrimination against fathers when it comes to making the child custody and parent-time awards, the odds are still ludicrously in the mother’s favor when both parents are fit and loving parents. 

No question about it. The exceptions prove the rule. 

“All things being equal,” the mother is favored (yes, I know that’s illogical, but the courts find ways to justify or to appear to justify illogical thinking, especially in making child custody and parent-time awards). 

It’s grossly unfair to children and to fit, loving fathers alike, but it’s what courts frequently (more often than not) do. 

Now clearly there are times when, even though Dad’s a wonderful parent, circumstances (such as the parents living too far apart or having an unorthodox/inflexible work schedule) may render impractical or impracticable the exercise of joint equal physical custody and/or result in joint equal custody arrangements doing the children more harm than good. But far, far too often fit, loving fathers are denied joint equal custody by virtue of plain old sexual discrimination. 

What does “favoring the mother” (prejudicing the father) look like nowadays? Here are few of the most common situations: 

  • Rather than awarding joint equal physical custody to both parents, awarding “just a little more time” to Mom than to Dad. Case in point: I worked a case where both Mom and Dad had full-time jobs, but the court awarded Mom more time with the children than with Dad anyway (8 out of every 14 days on a 14-day repeating schedule—the trial court even stated that denying the kids and dad that one day every two weeks would enable dad to have more time to get his work done). This was the case where I reached my breaking point (about three years ago). To his credit, my client agreed to appeal (and pay tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege), and he won, with the appellate court ordering the trial court to award equal child custody and parent time. If you believe that happens in every case like his, you would be mistaken. 
  • Finding that, even in situations where the children are preteens or older, the mother was (past tense) the children’s primary caregiver when they were infants and toddlers, and therefore she always has that “advantage” over the father in the here and now. I have this case where mom had been working full-time for the past four years. The youngest of the couple’s children could take care of himself and did not need a full-time caregiver. Worse, mom worked outside the home full-time, while dad’s full-time job permitted him to work from home. At the temporary orders phase of the case, the court awarded mom primary physical custody of the kids because (and the court made no secret of the basis for its decision) she hadbeen (past tense) the per children’s primary caregiver. Dad Wasn’t even seeking sole or primary custody; he was seeking joint equal physical custody, but he lost. Such an outcome is ridiculous and tragic, but not surprising. 
  • Rejecting Dad’s claims that the mother is so lazy and that Dad not only works full-time each day outside the home, but then spends the rest of his time at home taking care the housekeeping and taking care of the kids as well. Why? Because (in my experience) in the minds of most judges it is unthinkable for a stay-at-home mother to be a lazy and inattentive parent (while at the same time it is easy for judges to believe—just believe—that a father doesn’t pull his weight when it comes to fulfilling child caregiving). 
  • Penalizing the father for being the only full-time employed (in many cases the only employed) parent and awarding sole or primary physical custody of the children to the mother because she doesn’t work outside the home. Never mind (apparently) the fact that if the parties share joint equal custody, that would enable both parents to provide as much personal care to the children as possible and also allow them to work full-time jobs for their children’s financial support. Nope. Now clever courts will “acknowledge” and “praise” Dad for being a responsible and devoted breadwinner, but won’t award joint equal custody, justifying the unequal award of child custody with assertions such as: 
    • Spending equal time in both parents’ Respective residences creates an “unstable” residential circumstance for the children. 
    • The fact that unemployed Mom spends more of the waking hours with the children than does Dad (until the children start school, in which case the amount of time mom spends with the kids during waking hours is negligible compared to the time the children are with Dad while he’s at work) means that dad should spend even less of the children’s waking hours with them when he gets home from work. Otherwise stated, because Dad can’t be with the kids during the eight or nine hours that he is at work each day, that means that he should not spend the hours that he does have available to be with the children when the children could be spending that time or “consistently” in the custody and care of their mother. If you don’t understand this reasoning the first time you read through it, you’re not alone. 
  • Courts will still indulge in blatantly discriminating against fathers: 
    • by citing to the “fact” that women/mothers are “born nurturers”; 
    • by citing to the “fact” that children are more closely bonded with, and thus need more time with, their mothers than with their fathers; 
    • by claiming “it’s not the quantity of time but the quality of time” that children spend with their fathers that matters most, failing to concede that the quality of the time is a function of the quantity of time when it comes to parent-child interactions. How did the term “Disneyland Dad” evolve? Not by assuming the responsibilities and “heavy lifting” parental duties of day to day living. No, but by spoiling the child when they have such disproportionately little time on alternating weekends and one weeknight. It creates a warped sense of the father-child relationship and of reality for the kids in general, leading to the kids becoming self-absorbed, worldly, and feeling entitled around their fathers. 

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Why is it difficult for a father to get child custody?

Why is it difficult for a father to get child custody?

Because there is a pernicious and false belief in far too many of the courts (not, notably, in society at large) that generally:

  1. mothers are better parents than fathers;

and thus

  1. children need the care of their mothers more than the care of their fathers;

and thus

  1. children should spend most of their time in the care of their mothers but have “a relationship” with their fathers by seeing them every other weekend, once a week, and on alternating holidays.

All other “reasons” for presuming that sole or primary custody of a child or children should be awarded to the mother derive from these three false premises, which premises/presumptions are extraordinarily difficult for a father to overcome, even if all he seeks is an award of joint equal child custody.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

For divorced parents: why isn’t your custody award 50/50?

For divorced parents: why isn’t your custody award 50/50?

Concisely (and in no particular order):

  1. sometimes a parent’s job, physical or mental/emotional disabilities, misconduct (like domestic violence, child abuse, or substance abuse), poverty, or distance from the other parent’s residence prevents him or her from exercising joint equal (50/50) custody, even though the parent is otherwise a loving, caring, and fit parent.
    • sometimes a child is nursing and thus the exercise of joint equal custody is a practicable impossibility.
  2. sometimes a parent who could exercise 50/50 custody may not want to exercise joint equal (50/50) custody. It’s rare, but it happens.
  3. sometimes a parent could exercise 50/50 custody, but the children vehemently and rebelliously oppose it. It’s rare, but it happens.
  4. sometimes, even though the parent wants it and is worthy of 50/50 custody, the other spouse and co-parent is evil and does everything in his or her power to depict that parent as unworthy of joint equal (50/50) custody in a campaign to ensure that 50/50 custody is not awarded. This doesn’t happen all the time, but happens quite frequently (more than most people would imagine).
    • sometimes, when a parent is dealing with a malicious parent, even 50/50 custody could be awarded, the innocent parent agrees to less than 50/50 to spare the children and/or the innocent future haranguing over and sabotage of the custody award. Some parents make it abundantly clear that if 50/50 custody is awarded that he/she will make everyone from the parent to the children to the court regret it.
  5. sadly, some courts believe that 50/50 cannot work, that 50/50 causes or exacerbates inter-parental disputes to the detriment of the children, and so the court awards less than 50/50 custody believing (too often falsely believing) that less than 50/50 is for the benefit of the children. Actually, the science shows just the opposite to be true, that 50/50 custody has the effect of reducing the amount and severity of inter-parental conflict.
  6. sometimes, even though a father wants and is worthy of 50/50 custody, the judge has a bias against awarding it. For some judges it’s a belief that men simply should not or cannot be entrusted with 50/50 custody, that “the only reason the father wants 50/50 custody is because it reduces his child support obligation,” that women are “born nurturers,” or that the children, though not infants, are still too young to spend time equally in the care and custody of both parents. Some judges take the position that if the mother has been, up to the point of separation and divorce, the children’s “primary caregiver” that she must remain their primary caregiver, even though the divorce will necessitate that she get a job and no longer function as primary caregiver.
    • Although men/fathers are being treated better when they seek 50/50 custody than ever before, there is still obvious discrimination generally against fathers who can clearly exercise and who and want and who seek 50/50 custody.

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

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Can a mother keeping the children from the father work against in custody litigation?

Can a mother not allowing the father to see his child without reason work against her in litigation for joint custody? Would the father having children from another relationship living in the home as well impact the decision for joint custody?

Oddly enough, when a mother does not “allow” the father to see the couple’s child without reason, it can work against her in litigation for joint custody, but rarely works against her nearly as much as you might imagine.

Even though societal and court bias against fathers in child custody cases is waning, there is in my experience still an unbelievable level of bias against fathers generally in child custody cases. The child custody award is, with surprisingly rare exception even nowadays, still the mother’s to lose.

There is often an unwritten but undeniable presumption that mothers:

  • are the children’s primary caregivers of, even when both parents have jobs outside the home and even when the mother works outside the home and the father does not! I’ve witnessed it personally myself as an attorney;
  • mothers are just generally better parents than fathers; and
  • fathers who seek sole or joint custody of their children do so only to avoid having to pay child support (yet virtually no one claims that mothers don’t seek sole custody for the purpose of receiving maximum child support)

This means essentially that for every “point” favoring an award of custody to the mother the father has to score 3 to 5 points of his own just to stay in the running for a joint custody award. It’s patently unfair and patently sexist.

If a father in a pending child custody case was in a previous case awarded custody of other children from another relationship can do nothing but have a positive impact on his efforts to seek joint custody of this other children, so long as the father can show that he is exercising custody properly and for the benefit of the children. It may not be enough to secure an award of joint custody, but it will help (unless the court engages in tortured logic—which I’ve seen before—and concludes that because the father has sole custody of his children from a previous relationship that he won’t have the time and resources and attention to care for his other children the same way).

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why does it seem like courts are against fathers when it comes to custody?

Why does it seem like courts are against fathers when it comes to custody?

Because while the courts are becoming less and less biased against fathers as time goes by, they are still generally biased against fathers when it comes to awarding child custody. And we know why. It’s no mystery.

Believe it or not, the courts were biased in favor of men in child custody cases before the pendulum swung the other way. Back then, when men had more education, more job skills, more brute force strength to perform the manual labor jobs, more property and more rights than women, the idea of giving custody to a mother would have been to condemn a child to a likely life of poverty and destitution. You can see how it made sense at the time: society made it all but impossible for the average mother to support a family on her own, and so fathers were more frequently awarded custody of the children.

The reason courts became biased against fathers in the first place is due to the pervasive belief that women are better parents than men, especially to infants and very young children. This is known as the “tender years doctrine”. It has been rejected—correctly—by most state courts as a form a sexual discrimination. But even after that most courts kept applying the principle in an “underground” way—switching from the “tender years doctrine” to the “primary caregiver” presumption—thus still awarding custody to mothers and/or refusing to award joint custody by still presuming women are better parents than men, just not outright stating it in their rulings and court orders.

It is both prejudicial and erroneous to assume in every case that the mother is “the better” of the two parents (to presume that both parents are not equally fit to exercise custody is erroneous and prejudicial on its face) nor does it require courts to treat child custody as requiring a parent (let’s call him “the father”) to “divorce” his children in the course of his divorce from his spouse. Where the “best parent” for a child is both parents, assuming that joint custody isn’t an option is antithetical to acting in the best interest of the child.

Not all divorced parents will be able to exercise joint physical custody of their children. Not all divorced parents are fit to exercise custody of their children. If a parent is neglectful or abusive, that parent is clearly not fit to exercise custody of his or her children. But with approximately half of marriages ending in divorce, we all know that it’s simply not the case (it can’t be) that one of every two divorcing parents is unfit to exercise custody of children.

Indeed, where divorced parents are both loving and decent people, and live close enough to each other to make the exercise of joint physical custody feasible, there is simply no justification for relegating one parent to the role of “noncustodial” parent who exercises “visitation” of his/her own children. There is simply no justification for denying children the benefits of the love, caring, example, and overall rearing of both parents. It’s literally no different than expecting a tailor to do as good as job with one half of the scissors as with both halves.

If Mom and Dad are both fit parents and live within a short distance of each other, the best thing for the children is a joint legal and joint physical custody award, so that the children have the benefit of both parents being as involved in caring for and loving their children as much as possible. This is self-evident (eeven if it weren’t, the social science data support are overwhelming).

Joint custody doesn’t imply that a mother is an unfit parent, but in today’s culture there are many mothers who fear that very perception, if joint custody is awarded. I understand.

In a culture where 1) it is erroneously presumed that all divorced parents cannot or should not continue to exercise joint custody of their children; 2) that one parent must be awarded the primary or sole custody of children; and 3) that women are presumptively the better of the two parents, then a joint custody award could lead some people to believe that “mom just wasn’t good enough to get sole custody”. These culturally erroneous presumptions thus must be rejected, for the benefit of mothers, fathers, and children alike.

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

Tags: , , , ,

Do the family courts in the U.S. tend to favor the mother over the father?

Do the family courts in the U.S. tend to favor the mother over the father?

Generally, yes. The courts are slowly, but noticeably, becoming less biased in favor of mothers over fathers, but the bias is still undeniably there. Fathers have a better chance than ever of being treated fairly and without discrimination than they have ever had in modern memory, but fathers still have to work twice as hard to get treated fairly and impartially.

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

Tags: , ,

Are divorce courts biased towards either gender?

Are divorce courts biased towards either gender?

In my educated and experienced opinion, yes, in most (not all) cases.

It’s not usually motivated by animus toward men or women (although there are some judges who are clearly biased against men or women), primarily it’s culturally motivated.

Culturally in the U.S. there is a deep-seated belief that:

Child Custody

  • children need the care and attention of their mothers more than they need the care and attention of their fathers;
  • women are better parents than men;
  • mothers take a greater interest in their children’s welfare than do men;
  • children fare better when they spend most of their time in one place, as opposed to “bouncing back and forth” between two parents’ separate homes;
  • asking children how they feel about their parents and what their desires are for child custody and visitation is a bad idea—they are too immature, too easily coached, and will be traumatized by telling the court what they desire.


  • wives are dependent upon men for their financial support and well-being;
  • men can bounce back from the economic and financial setbacks of divorce easier than women can.

To be sure, some of these beliefs hold true in many divorce situations (but not in all of them!). The problem arises when legislators and judges confuse these beliefs with universal principles that apply to every family.

Thus, whether they realize they are doing it, far too many legislators and judges fall prey to cultural biases when deciding divorce and child custody cases. They substitute a thorough and impartial analysis of each particular case with “eh, odds are that the kids are better off with Mom” and/or “eh, odds are wife deserves alimony” and/or “the kids will somehow miraculously stay emotionally close to the noncustodial parent by relegating the noncustodial parent to ‘visitor’ status every other weekend and a few other times throughout the year.” Children get short shrift because the courts usually (at least in the state in which I practice) generally ignore their direct input when crafting the child custody award.

Don’t misunderstand me. Frankly, in my experience and as a general matter, women often are the better parents, frequently when children are infants. Women frequently (though less frequently with each generation) are financially dependent upon their husbands. Sometimes one parent is the more organized and disciplined custodian than the other. But too many legislators and judges craft laws, policies, and decrees around rules of thumb that simply do not apply universally (or fairly) to all families and people. The result is inequity and injustice for a parent and for the children. They deserve better than perfunctory laws and decrees that derive from laziness, jadedness, and gut feelings.

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

Tags: , , , ,

Are family courts biased against parents with diagnosed mental illness when deciding custody?

Are family courts biased against parents with diagnosed mental illness when deciding custody?

Yes, they can be, under certain circumstances.

A common tactic in child custody disputes is to accuse the other parent of being mentally ill and a danger to the children. Courts are so accustomed to perfunctory allegations of mental illness being thrown around that courts often become jaded and skeptical, and as a result they sometimes won’t place much stock in such claims. So to those of you thinking that going off half-cocked and accusing your spouse of mental illness will give you a cheap, easy advantage, it won’t do you much good (and may undermine your credibility) without an actual diagnosis by a qualified neutral professional, at the very least.

But if a court does acknowledge a parent suffers from mental illness, then yes, there is frequently a bias against that parent. It’s not right, but to some extent, can you condemn them for such a bias? If one parent suffers from no disabilities and the other does (mental and/or physical), right there you have a difference that certainly does the disabled parent no favors in the child custody analysis.

Many people fear mental the mentally ill because they don’t understand mental illness (and have little interest in gaining a greater understanding), so when one does not understand and fears something, one tends avoid that thing. Courts thus often mistreat a mentally ill parent because those courts A) don’t know if the mental illness will render a parent unfit to exercise custody and B) don’t really want to know if the mental illness will render a parent unfit to exercise custody.*

*Note, however, that some judges and other judicial officers suffer from an unusually high incidence of mental health issues (depression and other mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, sex addiction, etc.) and in those cases they may be hypersensitive to reckless allegations that mental illness = parental unfitness.

So if you suffer from mental illness, and if the court expresses concern about it, and if you can prove your mental illness does not pose a threat to the well-being of the children, then bury the court in useful data and facts that prove this six ways from Sunday. Merely trying to reason with someone who doesn’t understand or care to understand mental illness is not enough. Give’em so much evidence that they can’t rule any other way without knowing they’ll be overturned on appeal. Yes, it’s very expensive and requires great and sustained effort. That’s the way it goes. There’s no easier way.

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

Tags: , , , , ,

Why don’t some people fight for custody of their children?

Why don’t some people fight for child custody in some divorce or child custody cases?

Others have explained why, in their particular situations, they felt that while they desired custody, they couldn’t get it, and so they didn’t fight a losing battle. Those answers are worth reading because those parents’ situations do arise, and the answers those parents gave are insightful.

I’ll answer this question a little differently, and I’ll do so by making a few assumptions, so that you know the context of my answer:

  1. In my answer I will assume that the parent is fit to exercise custody of their children. In other words, no neglect, no abuse, no disabilities, no behaviors that would make the parent unfit to exercise custody. He or she is ready, willing, and able to exercise custody, whether sole or joint.
  2. In my answer I will assume that the parent desires to exercise custody of the children. He or she wants to be loving, supporting, and actively involved in the children’s upbringing.

So why would a parent who is fit to exercise child custody and who desires to exercise child custody not fight for at least joint custody?

Here are many all too common reasons (and with due respect for people’s feelings, I will not allow my answer to be tempered by political correctness—these are my fully candid, honest, professional opinions):

  1. If the other parent is an amazingly persuasive liar who has no qualms about lying to get what he/she wants and is willing to stoop as low as it takes to win. Parents who don’t fight this kind of parent aren’t lazy or cowardly, they just realize that everyone believes the other parent’s stories and that challenges to those stories either fall on deaf ears or worse (and perversely), make one look defensive and not credible. The saying, “A lie will run half over the world while truth is putting on his boots to pursue it” aptly—though sadly—applies all too well in child custody disputes. So if one parent accuses the other of being abusive, the court may make the safe bet.
  2. If you know that the other parent will not rest until you and/or the child are/is beaten and made utterly miserable. Many a parent will tell you that one of the hardest, most sickening decisions they had to make was to give up custody to the crazy, rotten parent because unless that happened the crazy rotten parent would make life hell for the other parent and/or the child for the rest of his/her/their lives. How? Constant litigating. Calling the cops and child services with endless false accusations. Harassing phone calls, text messages, and e-mails. Libelous social media postings. Rumor mongering among neighbors, parishioners, and colleagues. Refusing to comply with court orders. The list is limited only by the powers of parent’s diabolical mind. In such situations giving up on the custody fight is a case of choosing the lesser of two evils.
  3. If you run out of money. You can’t fight for custody if you can’t make a good case, and often you cannot make a good case without a good lawyer, and few, if any, good family lawyers are free. I’ve seen parents try to fight for custody without being represented by a lawyer. Some succeed, but they are the rare exception. It’s not fair, but it is reality. And custody fights include more than just your lawyer fees. Usually there is a “custody evaluator” appointed that one or both parents have to pay for. Often a lawyer is appointed to represent the children. Psychological evaluations may be ordered as well, and at the parents’ expense.
  4. If the judge is biased. There could be many reasons for the bias (overt or subconscious), but the reasons don’t really matter if you’re on the wrong end of the bias itself. A judge can (and some do) discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, race, nationality, and religion to name some of the top biases. There is no point in fighting against bias that you can’t prove and that your judge won’t acknowledge.
  5. If you’re a man and the other parent is a woman. While the bias against fathers is waning (and even rapidly waning) in child custody cases, the prevailing attitude (that few, if any courts are willing to acknowledge) is still that women are better parents than men. And let’s be honest: there is a good reason for these beliefs. If we took a random sampling of 100 sets of parents and evaluate each one on standards of parental skill and fitness, the mothers would probably score higher than the fathers. Some judges may just go with their presumptions, without making a sufficient and sufficiently impartial examination of the evidence in each particular case. In other words, they may play the odds. But courts aren’t casinos. Presuming men are worse parents than women is no different than presuming women can’t do jobs men traditionally held. It’s like presuming the black guy defendant is guilty or presuming the handicapped applicant can’t be a successful student. The purpose of going to trial is to try the case. If you know in advance that you start at an artificially imposed disadvantage, then you also know the system isn’t interested in making an impartial analysis of the facts particular to your case. If a father knows the court isn’t interested in the facts, what good comes from entrusting your fate to the court?

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

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yes, there is a bias in favor of mothers in child custody disputes, but not for much longer.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

I recently saw this post on a child custody Facebook group:

If [fathers] want to piss and moan, and whine online about injustice and not being able to see their children, and inequality, that’s great. But don’t expect anything to change.

Because the one thing women do, and have always done that these sissy-ass men don’t do is they actually take action. They show the hell up. Women actually fight for their rights and they fight against your rights.

And those of us who have been working our asses off to improve things and make things better for them are getting to the point to where we are not going to do it anymore because it’s clear that we care more about their ability to see their children than they do.

End of rant.

What nonsense.

To be sure, rarely will outworking the opposition make things worse than a slothful, apathetic approach, but claiming that mothers win custody battles solely (or even primarily) because they outwork the fathers is patently untrue.

The main reason mothers who don’t deserve to win child custody disputes often win them anyway (and to be clear, not every undeserving mother wins; sometimes justice is done) is because of a cultural bias in favor of mothers in child custody disputes. It’s as simple (and as obvious) as that. The idea that mothers take so much action or are so “tough” or “consistent” that they win custody by sheer force of grit and determination is bunk.

Of course there is a bias in favor of mothers in child custody disputes. But this bias is waning. As more women enter the workforce and achieve occupational and income parity with men, and as more men are able to work remotely from home, the old arguments about women being “born nurturers” and men being mere “breadwinners” are growing more and more invalid. Children of these kinds of parents are also becoming judges. If you are a fit parent and a father, you can “win” joint custody of your children (or retain the joint custody you already have and should never have taken away from you simply because you and your spouse are divorcing) IF you have the needed proof, the proper legal arguments, and a sympathetic commissioner and/or judge.

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

Tags: , ,

Do you think current divorce laws are biased against men?

Do you think the current divorce laws are biased against men?

In my experienced opinion, yes (and I speak as one who represents both women and men in divorce where in Utah, where I practice law).

Here’s why and how:

Before I launch into the reasons why divorce laws (and courts) are generally biased against men on the subjects of domestic violence charges and child custody, I would be remiss if I did not tell you I see the bias as decreasing. If you were a man divorcing 20 or 30 years ago, the idea of getting joint physical custody of your kids would have been considered a fantasy. Women were assumed to get alimony more or less simply by virtue of getting divorced. Not so much anymore.

But bias is still there, and for the same reasons they have been for more than the last hundred or so years.

Candidly, men and women are different. Mothers are generally different from fathers. They both have strengths and weaknesses as parents. But this is a reason for awarding joint custody of children, not a reason to marginalize the men and fathers. When both parents are fit parents, then “the best parent” is both parents.

Here are a few of the illegal discriminatory practices against men in divorce court, and the effects they have:

• women are “naturally” better parents than men (so they get a greater percentage of child custody);

• men who work outside the home are not as capable of and willing to make sacrifices in their careers for the sake of child rearing (so the women get a greater percentage of child custody);

• men who work from home are not as attentive to children’s needs as are women (and so the women get a greater percentage of child custody);

• women generally still don’t make as much money as men (and so women get alimony awarded to them far more easily and in higher amounts than do men).

Fortunately, if you are just as fit a parent as your wife, the biases against men can be almost entirely rebutted and disproven, if you have mountains of the right evidence to show the court.

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

Tags: , , , , ,
Click to listen highlighted text!