When it comes to custody decision, mothers have always been the primary candidate for residential custody, while fathers only get visiting rights. The situation often gets reversed in case mother is “not good enough” to be able to take care of the child according to the investigation done by lawyers and court. However, in the last decade it has been observed that fathers are getting equal residential custody on many rounds. Followed by this, there’s have been a very interesting argument taking place across the world that mothers often fight for custody of the child so they can get good amount of maintenance, alimony and child support from the father of the child. Since the role of a father has always been someone who takes care of the finances, divorced mothers often use their children as pawns so they do not have to work even after divorce and could live a comfortable life, thereafter. Even though this is not the same case with everyone, but exceptions are always there and fathers are the real victim of such exceptions. They are paying a heavy toll for it. If a relationship ends in disaster women use children as pawns 80% of the time.
Across a wide range of jurisdictions, it has been observed that 68-88% times the mother used to get the custody, while the custody rights in the favor of the father remained 8-14%. However, the statistics have drastically changed, bringing the estimates close to 40-60% for both parents.
A Brief History of Custody
For over 5,000 years, fathers were legally entitled to sole custody of their children post divorce. Mothers, on the other hand were never given the custody of children and were obliged to bear and support children.
But, during the 19th century, pro-child crusaders proposed the “tender years doctrine” and convinced the state that young and growing children require maternal care and tenderness to be able to develop morally and culturally sound. As a result, post-10th century, the custodial challenged mothers enjoyed equal right to custody if the state judge found her morally and economically worthy of motherhood.
However, the connection between a mother and children that was mentioned in “tender years doctrine” soon became undermined. In 1975, a New York judge - Guy Ribaudo granted sole custody of two children to their father. The judgement did not come because the mother was “unfit”, but because the judge figured out that the father of those children was more intellectually active and that seemed better for the overall development of children. This case came into limelight, followed by a lot of speculations.
This case swept through a number of public consciousness. It became a reminder that children are often on loan to mothers. Whereas, they can be recalled to their economically and intellectually solvent fathers.
Fathers have often been seen accusing the “good enough” mothers that they fight for custody just to get handsome alimony amount and child support. In fact, several arguments have been raised that when 80% of the social and economic needs children are taken care of by fathers, then what’s the need of giving sole custody to the mother. There have been many campaigns around the world by men activist, seeking equal custody rights for all the contributions they make in an overall development and upbringing of a child. There are also several fathers rights groups forming daily. While mothers help in development of cultural and moral values, fathers provide intellectually sound and economically stable environment and thus, should be able to get equal and/or even sole custody rights of children.
No matter how many controversies and protests take place, the court has the right to make the final judgement. The judgement is based on best interests of the child. Besides this, a lot of factors are also taken into consideration. The pros and cons of all these factors are thoroughly weighed before making the final decision.
Parents seeking divorce are often referred for court guidance and counseling to determine which parent is more focused and deserving of the custody. An experienced attorney should be able to put forward all the terms and considerations that you can focus on to be able to convince the court for the custody. Shared custody options has become more viable option these days, taking of the burden from both the parent, while they live separately. However, a lot of depends upon the situation of the case and demands of the parties involved.