Beginning with the gender rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s, women have demanded equal treatment in the workforce and in society as a whole. Part of the newfound gender identity of the “modern” woman comes work outside the home, contrary to the traditional view of the stay-at-home mom who manages the family’s domestic responsibilities while the father is the “breadwinner.” As more women equal or surpass their husband’s salary comes a new set of challenges, particularly if the couple should split.
The divorce rate for first marriages has hovered at 50 percent for years now, so family-oriented gender equality issues are a very real concern for many people. While in the “real world,” women have made huge strides out of the home and into the workforce, the evolution has been slower in the family court system.
Many family court judges – the same ones making all-important child custody and child support decisions if a splitting couple cannot come to an agreement – are still back in the proverbial “dark ages” where only the mother should be awarded primary custody of minor children. As a result of that, many fathers find themselves fighting an uphill battle when seeking the opportunity to maintain a quality relationship with their children.
Due to the increase in demand for men seeking custody, a cottage legal industry has sprung up focusing on the “fathers’ rights” aspect of family law. It might be comforting to have a legal team at your disposal with specific knowledge of your perspective, the fact remains that child custody cases should be focused on one thing, and one thing only: making decisions in the best interests of the children.
Source: USA Today, “More dads demand equal custody rights, reject child-support arrangements of yesterday,” Sharon Jayson June 14, 2014.