13 Nov Does the Family Court Favor a Particular Gender When it Comes to Child Custody?
There is a perception in society that child custody decisions made by the Family Court favor one gender over another. Do mothers tend to get child custody rights more than fathers and does this mean that there is a bias in the Family Court?
No gender bias in the Family Court in California
The reality is that the Family Court cannot and does not have a gender bias when it comes to making a decision about child custody. There is no preference for mothers over fathers or indeed the reverse. All decisions made over child custody are made in the ‘best interests of the child.’ In some cases, thus may mean that the mother is given the right to take care of the child or children; in other cases, it is the father.
If mothers tend to be in the majority when decisions are made, it is generally because that reflects the reality of the child care situation before the divorce or separation. For example, if a mother has been abandoned with a child or children, but the father later shows up and contests custody of the children, the court will probably make a decision based on the fact that the father abandoned the family and presumably any care of his child or children, even if it was temporary. Similarly, if a mother was the primary caregiver before a divorce because she was not working as much as the father and had more time looking after the children, then the court’s decision may reflect the pre divorce marital arrangement rather than make an arbitrary decision about the mother being the better caregiver.
California Family Code section 3040(a)(1) enshrines the decisions made by the Family Court and specifically prevents the Court from having any gender bias when making a decision about child custody arrangements.
The best interests of the child are the primary factors when deciding child custody
As far as disputes over who is the better caregiver after a separation or divorce, the Court takes many things into consideration when deciding on the best interests of the child. If you are worried that certain facts are not going to be brought up which you think should be taken into consideration, it would be best to hire an experienced family law attorney to help you prepare the groundwork needed to convince the Court that you are the best choice as a caregiver to your child(ren).
Factors that the Court may not be aware of which could influence their decision include:
- hours at work demanded of each parent;
- drug or alcohol dependence issues;
- history of emotional, physical or sexual abuse;
- no history of concern by the other parent in education or health of the child(ren);
- other health issues that could affect the ability to care for the child(ren);
- any other relevant factors.
A family law attorney can help you if you are concerned about a child custody decision
If you are concerned that the Court may make the wrong decision about the custody of your children or feel that you have information to bring to their attention, the best advice is to discuss your circumstances with a family law attorney. Make an appointment with the Law Office of Damian Nolan in Orange County at 562-634-1115.