Historically, in child custody and divorce proceedings the family law courts have shown the preference of granting mothers sole custody over fathers. Some believe this trend represents a lack of fairness being shown to fathers, who from a technical standpoint should have just as many rights and protections as mothers. However, the reality is that men seeking sole custody of a child are facing an uphill battle, especially if they cannot afford a good attorney. Recent cases in the news are questioning the rights of the fathers of children whose mothers make decisions like giving the child up for adoption or relocating to another state, without the fathers’ permission.
Complaints About An Unfair Court System
There is no denying the fact that many family law courts wrongly operate under the assumption that a child’s mother is its only real parent. Fathers’ rights groups such as Voice For Men have been created in order to set the record straight about all of the difficulties facing fathers seeking to receive joint custody or sole custody of their children. These men face unfairness in the court system both with custody proceedings and in divorce proceedings, which many see as disproportionately placing lofty financial burdens on men that are not as present for women. The time fathers spend in court can be time consuming, expensive, and emotionally draining.
Are Courts In Line With The Changing Times?
Through the 1980s, the trend was that in most cases mothers would receive sole custody. Oftentimes sole custody of a child results in the parent without sole custody being legally ordered to pay higher child support and maintenance payments than if joint custody was shared. However, new figures suggest that in certain states the percentage of cases resulting in sole custody for the mother has decreased, while joint custody arrangements have been increasing, with more mothers being forced to pay child support than in the past.
Some posit that the real inequality facing fathers in custody proceedings revolves around income inequality. Reports indicate that as the economy has stalled, lower-class men’s ability to make child support payments has also declined. While wealthy men can easily hire adept attorneys to draw out the custody arrangements that they prefer, the average lower-class man faces custody battles with minimum funds and legal acumen. It’s no surprise that given the bias against fathers in the courts, and the financial difficulties oftentimes facing newly divorced fathers, that the battle for receiving joint custody, let alone sole custody of children, can be a tricky and complicated endeavor for fathers.
This year there has been a significant push in Connecticut to bring reform to the state’s child custody process. Hopefully some of these reforms will take the time to address relevant fathers’ right issues, and the fact that courts are sometimes unfairly ignoring a man’s right to parent. If you are facing any custody law issues, or have any other family law related questions, you should contact the family law attorneys here at Greenberg & Krieger LLP in Fairfield County, Connecticut.