Punishment For Success

Custody trends negatively affecting mothers with careers.

On October 20, 2009, FOX News Network reported that unemployment rates for Americans are disproportionate based upon gender. Apparently, 11% of men are currently unemployed, while only 7% of women are suffering from this situation. In fact, for the first time in history, in 1/3 of all married couples, the wife earns more than the husband. This means that in one out of every three families, the main bread-winner is the wife.

These statistics demonstrate positive and negative trends affecting women in custody cases. There is an increase in cases whereby men are attempting to gain custody or otherwise obtain equal physical time with the children (shared parenting rather than joint custody) because they claim the mothers are "not available" to take care of their children due to their work commitments.

With more women working, and more women earning just as much as their male counterparts, there are more men saying, "Why can't I have custody, or at least shared parenting time?" Indeed, if both spouses work the exact same hours, assuming 9-5 and have similar earning capacities, it presents a level playing field in some respects.

If both parents are equal in the amount of time that they have available to parent their children, the court will look to chain of custody and history of care-giving. For example if one parent is occupying a residence within the school district of the child. Furthermore, if the child has "always been" with one parent and it is only recently that that one parent is entering the workforce, that parent may remain the primary care giver or physical custodian of the child.