In our previous article on “what percentage of men win child custody battles?” The statistics indicated that men win custody about 18.3% of the time. That means, about 80% of women still win custody despite the laws that do not give preference to women when it comes to child custody. In the same article, we also found out that 79.9% of the primary custodial parents in the United States are mothers.
The statistics that we have seen portray a picture that fathers still have lower chances of getting custody than mothers. Or we can also say, child custody still favors the mother. Therefore, without the men contesting, it would mean that a large percentage of women will have custody of their children.
It is only in contested cases where men or fathers seem to win more than in uncontested cases. Statistics indicate that 60% of men win custody in contested cases. That also means men have a tough task to prove to the court that they can be good caregivers as mothers.
Why Does Child Custody Favor the Mother?
As we mentioned, the laws have changed and do not give preference to the mother nor the father. The current laws are more centered on what is in the best interests of the child. Still, more mothers win custody and the reason why could be due to the following:
Gender Stereotypes and Roles
Throughout history, gender stereotypes have continued to impact child custody decisions. Though several laws have been passed to give both parents equal chances, still, gender stereotypes play some role. These stereotypes view women as better caregivers than men and it has remained to be an assumption in some courts.
It may be assumed that a father cannot take an active parenting role like a mother would do. Gender roles such as the washing of baby clothes, cooking for the children, and other activities are also considered to be done better by women than by men. While this has changed over time, this presumption is still reflected in the statistics where a larger percentage of women still win custody as compared to men.
Women are by nature primary caregivers and this has continued to be even after separation or divorce. This being a factor when it comes to decisions on who to take custody of the child or children, the court would consider who has been involved in primary caregiving responsibilities, and who took custody of the child after separation or divorce.
Since the majority of women assume custody when they separate or before a decision is made, that may give them an upper hand during a child custody case. She may be seen to be able to meet the needs of the child and to accept all the parental responsibilities, unlike the father.
The Bond Between the Child and The Parent
Children tend to bond better with their mothers than with their fathers. This is the case with children at a tender age where the relationship or bond is more with the mother than with the father. Typically, women can sacrifice even more work hours to care for the child than a father can do. This thus turns their bond and relationship into a level that is no match with that of a father.
When determining custody, the level of the bond between the child and the parent is a consideration that the courts would put into account. This accounts for a larger percentage of women or mothers winning custody than men.
On the other hand, the father’s involvement in matters of the child may be in the form of providing for the needs of the child, paying for medical and education fees, and other things that may not get them engaged directly in the life of the child as a mother would do. The mother would get involved in feeding the child, washing their clothes, and responding to the child’s feelings. This strengthens their bond and gives them an upper hand and more chances to win custody.
Age of The Child
When a child is too young or under the age of 5 years, the court is very likely to put that child in the care of the mother. This is because a mother is more suitable to raise that child since he or she may need the attention of the mother than that of a father. Most activities at this age involve playing with the child, washing their clothes, feeding them, and other activities that a father may not manage perfectly as a mother would.
Mothers’ Ability to Provide for Child’s Needs
Unlike in the past, most of the mothers nowadays are in employment and financially able as men. This being the consideration by the court boosts the chances of mothers winning custody. Along with other considerations that better the chances of mothers winning custody, their ability to provide for all the needs of the child is a plus when it comes to winning.
Best Interests of The Child
At all times, the best interests of the child or children are what prevails. This is where the court would also take into account the preference of the child who is of age. And in most cases, the child would prefer to stay with the mother than with the father.
The role of the mother in the growth and development of the child is key and cannot be replaced. This, therefore, can make a mother be seen by the court as the most suitable to take good care of the child if she has passed all other tests that also seem to favor them.
Mothers are also loving by nature and they get involved in the life of the child hence providing a suitable environment for emotional and psychological well-being and positive growth. This gives women an upper hand when it comes to child custody decisions.
As we have seen, mothers still enjoy an upper hand in child custody battles due to nature and nurture factors, the role they play in a child’s life, the best interests of the child, and many other factors that make them be more suitable custodians than the fathers.