Are men getting a fairer shake in child custody matters?

The question posed in the title of this article intimates that men who are facing a child custody battle do not get a fair opportunity to gain custody of their child. In no way is this article suggesting that the California court system is willfully and knowingly biased against men gaining custody of their children in divorce proceedings. However, it would be misguided to ignore the fact that traditionally the mother was awarded primary custody of the children when faced with a custody battle. There is a commonly held notion among most that mothers make better caregivers. Right or wrong, good or bad, this is the stereotypical belief.

More and more child custody battles are gaining attention legislatively because fathers are taking a stand. Fathers want to be recognized and included in custody matters and no longer want to be relegated only to every other weekend and a few weeks in the summer. According to a number of studies, it has been shown that it is often in the best interest of the child for children to spend time equally with each parent. Allowing a court to decide that one parent is more equipped to have legal and physical custody over another is a complicated decision and historically one that goes against fathers. There seems to be a push to level the playing field in this regard.

The courts are bound by the best interest of the child standard in child custody cases. This means that the courts will look at where the child will thrive emotionally and physically and base their decision on the information that they gather. At times, the court may look to the child and seek their opinion on the matter where the child is old enough to do so.

It appears that a change in how custody decisions are made with respect to the role fathers play is taking center stage and possibly breaking down historical barriers.