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Study Highlights Gender Bias in Family Courts During Child Custody Cases

As a father, you want to do everything you can to be the parent your child deserves. You want to be able to take them to their dance classes or help them with their homework, but for many parents who did not fare well in family courts during child custody cases, this cannot be their reality.

They cannot be the parents that their children deserve, because they were not given the same amount of parenting time as their co-parent. They may not have been treated equally to that of their co-parent, and as a result, their child is the one left to deal with the consequences of that legal decision.

Trust your attorney

If you are facing these types of circumstances, it is vital that you have a family law attorney fighting for you, who understands the plight that men and fathers face in divorce and in child custody cases.

A family law attorney who advocates for men and fathers is necessary to have by your side, especially in a family court system that shows biases toward mothers, according to a recent study.

The study

A study was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology that examined the role of gender stereotypes in child custody decisions. The study looked at cases from three culturally-distinct countries: Argentina, Brazil, and the United States, in order to gauge the extent of these biases on an international level.

One of the facets of interest for the study was explicit and implicit preferences regarding child custody, such as whether or not all rights and responsibilities concerning the child should be shared equally by both parents in cases of divorce.

The study also examined whether or not the perceived warmth of a given parent has influence and whether or not that perception is attributed to a specifically gendered parent. It also looked at whether or not any complimentary terms associated with the perceived warmth were specifically gendered in any way.

The results

The results of the study found that family courts had a preconceived notion regarding child-bearing and nurturing capabilities and that mothers were attributed with their stereotypical sense of warmth in their parenting style and other related traits, such as friendliness, generosity, or trustworthiness.

These traits enabled many of the family courts highlighted in the study to award custody to the mothers involved in these cases. The traits also were gendered with female nouns over male nouns, according to the results of the study.

The study also found instances in which, the endorsement of shared custody mitigated the stereotypes and biases identified.

The results of this study highlighted a troubling notion within family courts. The existence of a bias toward mothers does not only exist in the United States’ family court system. It is an international problem that is preventing fathers from being the loving and engaged parents that they want to be.

The study exposed the effects of pervasive stereotypes regarding mothers and fathers on real child custody cases. These fathers are forced to endure these biases that have nothing to do with their character, nor their ability to be a caregiver for their child.

Promote shared parenting

In order to solve this problem and prevent the shared child from being caught in the middle of an unfair situation, it is imperative that both parents prioritize the child above their own personal feelings related to the opposite parent. They need to be able to communicate and trust that their co-parent loves their child just as much as they do.

Shared parenting starts when two parents put their anger and personal feelings aside for the sake of the child, and in order to counteract the international gender biases within the family court against fathers that the study identified, respect for both parents’ place in a child’s life needs to be valued.


Men's Rights Editor

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