In the past, mothers were favored in child custody disputes. More recently, there has been an attitude shift, in part due to the fathers’ rights movement, which advocates for a more equal custody schedule, so that fathers can enjoy the same amount of parenting time as mothers and maintain meaningful relationships with their children.
In the past, fathers traditionally went to work every day, while mothers stayed home to take care of and raise the children. This led to the natural conclusion that if the parents separated or divorced and custody became an issue, the most custody time, or even full custody rights, would be awarded to the mother.
As the decades progressed, more households became dual income households, with both mothers and fathers working full time. Unfortunately, this didn’t change the perception that mothers should still be awarded the most custody time because they are the primary caretakers.
In California courts, there is already a rebuttable presumption that a shared custody plan is in the best interest of a child. This means that a custody court must assume that equal parenting time for a mother and father is best for a child, unless evidence is presented that illustrates otherwise.
Despite this rule, a recent U.S. Census study concluded that mothers continue to be granted sole or primary custody in 83% of cases. Proponents say this statistic demonstrates the need for the fathers’ rights movement.
We’ve made many strides as a society in terms of fathers’ custody rights in recent years, but the reality is that fathers who are going through a divorce, separated or were never married to the child’s mother and want equal parenting time may still need to fight hard to obtain a shared custody plan. Having an experienced attorney who is ready to fight for legal rights is essential.