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Why are Mothers Most Often Awarded Child Custody?

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. I’ve seen this many times as a child custody lawyer.

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.

The Effects of Relocation on Child Custody

When a former spouse or partner wants to relocate with your children, it can have a significant effect on your entire family. No matter the reason for the move, divorced parents must follow certain guidelines set forth by the state and through the couple’s divorce agreement.

Providing notice

Custodial parents cannot relocate with children without first providing written notice to the noncustodial parent. Individuals with custody must allow enough time for the noncustodial parent to raise concerns about the move, or challenge the decision in court.

Objecting to relocation

As a noncustodial parent, you may object to your spouse’s move by filing a motion with the court. During your hearing, you can present your case to a judge who will weigh the impact of the move against the best interests of the children. Judges typically consider the reason for the move, the relationship between each parent and their children, the affect the move will have on the children’s quality of life and the affect the relocation will have on relationships with parents and extended family.

Justifying the move

If you are the parent who wishes to relocate, you must provide solid evidence that your move is in the best interests of your children. Relocation hearings are taken seriously, and the judge will want to ensure that you are not relocating your children to physically or emotionally distance them from their other parent. In certain cases, judges may even consider granting custody to the parent who does not move, in an effort to maintain stability for the children.

If your move is approved, the judge will most likely require that a parenting plan be put in place. Such plans may outline specifics related to visitation, long-distance communication, travel expenses and more.

Free Consultation with Child Custody Lawyer

If you have a question about child custody question or if you need to collect back child support, please call Ascent Law at (801) 676-5506. We will aggressively fight for you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506