Navigating Male Gender Stereotypes in Family Court
Parents care. They provide as much as they can for their children in creating the best home possible. If you are a divorced parent, you have to create a home for your children separate from the home of your co-parent. You must give them a bed to sleep in, a routine to maintain, and an environment for them to thrive in.
If you are like many a divorced dad, you may be facing an unfavorable child custody situation. If you wish to change that situation, in order to be a more active and engaged father in your children’s lives, you need the assistance of a family law attorney.
They will be equipped with the necessary experience to help you navigate your unique child custody situation and will be able to handle the gender stereotypes that pervade the family court system.
Identifying gender biases
Studies have highlighted the gender biases that exist in the family court system among men facing divorce and child custody cases, including one published in the European Journal of Social Psychology.
The study found that family courts had a preconceived notion regarding childbearing and nurturing capabilities and that mothers were attributed with their stereotypical sense of warmth in their parenting style. Additionally, other related traits, such as friendliness, generosity, or trustworthiness were attributed to mothers, as opposed to fathers.
These traits enabled custodial decisions for mothers, which coincide with other findings in family courts across America. These are based around unevolved assumptions regarding the family dichotomy, where the father in a nuclear household worked in order to support the family, while the mother maintained the home.
However, times have changed. According to the Pew Research Center, seven in ten moms with children younger than the age of 18 were in the labor force in 2015, which is an increase from the 47 percent that it was in 1975.
Additionally, the number of fathers who work from home is approximately 2 million, as of 2012, which is a dramatic increase from the 1.1 million that it was, as of 1989.
While these numbers significantly are less than the number of stay-at-home mothers, it does not mean that they are less important, nor rising in conjunction with the evolution of gender roles. As a father, you are just as capable of providing a loving and supportive home as your co-parent, and it is imperative that the family courts begin to recognize that, lest children face negative consequences.
Potential parental alienation situation
These consequences can include parental alienation, which is a well-documented attachment-based trauma, where instead of serving the psychological and emotional needs of the children by providing stability, alienating parents use their child to meet their own needs.
The alienating parent intends to manipulate an innocent child, in order to turn them against the other parent. Instead of respectfully communicating in order to facilitate your children’s smooth transitions to a post-parental divorce life, they take advantage of any type of custodial advantage that they may have and foster a rift between the children and the targeted parent.
Contact your attorney
In order to avoid this type of traumatic and abusive situation, it is vital that you do everything in your power to combat any type of gendered stereotype that you may face in family court by hiring a family law attorney who knows what to expect. They understand the important roles that both parents play in the lives of their children and will advocate for your place in your child’s life. They understand that the parenting time that you spend with your children is precious and should be protected.