When courts first began hearing divorce cases, child custody was usually not a question. The judges would automatically assign the majority of care duties to the mother. This dated ideology does not apply in today’s family courts.
The Parental Rights Foundation explains the system has evolved to include a more balanced approach to child custody.
Best for the children
The main idea behind deciding custody matters has always hinged on what is best for the children. However, the actual idea of what is best has changed. In the past, the belief was children needed their mothers and that mothers were the caregivers. So, that led to courts automatically siding with the mother in a custody matter.
It is only recently, within the past couple of decades, that the idea changed. Courts now recognize that what is best for children is a good relationship with both parents. This impacts custody decisions in a major way.
The typical approach these days is to find a solution where parenting time is more equal. If the parents can share time with the children, that would be the ideal arrangement. But even when a joint custody situation will not work, the court will try to create a plan that allows the children to have enough time with each parent wherein they can develop meaningful relationships with both mom and dad.
Going to court now for a custody matter does not see the mother automatically getting all the benefits. The judge will consider the overall situation and look at each parent as an equal when deciding child custody matters.