There has been a tremendous amount of public discussion over equal rights in recent years. One significant issue seems consistently ignored despite these trends is the treatment of fathers in the child custody process. This is an area of life that leaves men at a distinct disadvantage compared to women, and the family court system routinely favors women in child custody disputes.
There have been several recent changes in the family court system that have helped to repair this divide, but courts in Colorado and beyond still appear to hold biases in favor of mothers. One such change is the focus on the “child’s best interests” instead of older “tender years doctrines” that almost always favored mothers. For more information, seek the advice of a Fort Collins child custody attorney today.
How Do Courts Rule on Child Custody Cases?
Today, the doctrine of ruling in favor of the best interests of the child comes into play in all child custody cases. A judge hearing a child custody dispute will look at evidence of both parents’ abilities as caregivers and the potential risks they pose to the children in question. Gender should not factor into these determinations. Judges must also refrain from holding the parents’ past actions against them as long as they did not interfere with the child or caused harm to the child.
A judge will examine each parent’s work schedule, living arrangements, and other factors that may influence his or her ability to effectively parent the children. The judge will also consider what the children in the case have to say, to an extent. Parents can easily influence or intimidate younger children who cannot articulate their thoughts very well, but a judge may earnestly consider the wishes of a child around the age of 12 or older. The judge will likely also wish to hear from family members and friends of the family to determine which parent should receive primary custody.
If the children in the case already attend school, the judge will most likely decide to rule in whatever way helps the children maintain their routines. Judges very rarely want to uproot children and disrupt school schedules. Judges will not likely grant custody to a parent with a history of child or spousal abuse.
Hiring an Attorney
Each parent in a custody case should secure legal representation. If a judge is biased toward one parent or another due to preconceived notions or outdated gender stereotypes, a good attorney – one who has experience with gender bias in divorce – can help with this bias to ensure a fair determination based on the best interests of the children involved.
Each parent’s attorney will work on building a case for who should receive primary custody, what type of visitation schedule will exist between the parents, and any other considerations for special factors like travel, disabilities, extracurricular activities, and more. Fathers who have unjustly lost custody battles or those who are expecting a disagreement over child custody in the future should reach out to a reliable family law attorney as soon as possible. The right attorney can help a father build a strong case and help ensure the father becomes the primary custodian of the children if it is in the children’s best interests.