Why are Mothers Most Often Awarded Child Custody?
Though child custody laws generally no longer presume that children should stay with their mother after a divorce, the fact is that mothers are still awarded custody of their children more often than fathers. So what is the reason for this?
First, courts more often find that the mother meets the qualifications for being considered the “primary caregiver.” This is the parent that is best able to meet the needs of the child and who has been shown to be the one meeting the majority of the child’s everyday needs. In many families these tasks are evenly split between parents, and there are some stay-at-home dads that bear the majority of the responsibility for these types of tasks.
However, there are still many more women in stay-at-home or caregiving roles, even despite the fact that many more women are in full-time jobs than in the past. This means that there is still a disparity between men and women in terms of who is likely to be considered the primary caregiver.
Because of the importance of the primary caregiver, it’s important that both parents do everything they can to handle daily childcare tasks if they believe that a divorce is coming. Courts are much more likely to split child support arrangements more evenly if they see both parents contributing at near equal levels to everyday parenting tasks.
Another key aspect of custody arrangements is the bond between parent and child. Numerous studies have shown that younger children are more likely to have a closer bond to their mother. This isn’t a reflection of the father’s parenting ability so much as it is the kind of roles that parents have at extremely young ages. Therefore, courts are going to be more likely to place very young children with their mothers.
Although mothers are more often awarded custody, it’s not an automatic arrangement. Consult the skilled Long Island divorce attorneys at Bryan L. Salamone & Associates if you need assistance with child custody matters.