Child Custody for Fathers
Child custody for fathers cases are more common today than in the past. Prior to the 1970's, custody was often vested with the mothers as the courts were guided by the tender years doctrine. The tender years doctrine presumed that during a child's tender years (which has been regarded as thirteen years old and under) the custody of the child should be with the mother. However, in the 20th century the courts began shifting away from the tender years doctrine (which violated the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution) to the best interests of the child standard. For most states, the best interest of the child standard became the public policy and the law by which the family courts were to be guided and how the family courts were to determine child custody awards.
Despite the 20th century shift to the best interest of the child doctrine, many family courts today continue to give great weight to the traditional role of the mother as the primary caregiver. The application of this standard in custody determinations has historically tended to favor the mother over the father in a child custody dispute. Regardless of the weight often given to the traditional role of the mother as the primary caretaker, more fathers are winning custody of their children. In some cases, child custody for fathers is obtained by mutual agreement between the parties. In some situations, the children prefer to live with their father. In other situations where child custody is left for the court to decide, fathers are proving to the court to be the more emotionally stable parent who can provide the better living environment for their children. In some situations, mothers are not able to afford the often protracted and expensive child custody battle or the mother is more interested in pursuing a career. Regardless of the situation, more fathers are getting custody of their kids whether it be by mutual agreement between the parents or by a decision from the court.
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