Gender And Child Custody Essay

993 words - 4 pages

Gender and custody within the courts Excellent grasp of concpetsGender and Child CustodyWithin the fabric of our society their seems to be a ideology about gender and child custody. This ideology stems from the facts about who should be the legal guardian of their son or daughter. The stereotypical views of our culture would perceive that women are more suited for the task of child development leaving the father bound to support the child. This created such movements as the 'father's right's movement' where they were determined to appeal to the masses by attempting to change the ideology of guardianship and the role of the mother. Nancy D. Polikoff, who wrote the article 'Gender and Child Custody Determinations: Exploding the Myths', attempts to clear some of the mis-conceptions about the guardianship of children in referring to the father's claim's.Polikoff's argument about gender and child custody is ' the belief that women have an unfair advantage over men in divorce courts.' (Polikoff, p 183). She begins to argue that it is our cultural beliefs that the mother should be the guardian for the child because she has legal birth right, hence she is the child's mother. Society therefore placed the child with it's mother without having seen the circumstances or status of either parent. Although she is the birth mother the court system see's the division of the family different from that of the ideologies held by society. The Father's Right Movement, which resembles the Women's right's movement, attempted to sway society into believe that only women get custody of their children.'The claim that father's are discriminated against in custody decisions tends to center on the statistics that about 90 percent of the children of divorce are in the custody of their mothers, and the 'tender years' presumption, a doctrine of historical short duration that made it extremely difficult for fathers to gain custody of children of tender years unless the mother was proven unfit' (Polikoff, p184)Thus this '90 percent' of all mother's receiving custody does not take into account a lot of factors. Studies have shown that if the father is willing to fight it out in court and seek custody, he has a good chance of receiving it. In 1977 fathers, who willing tried for custody of their child, had a success rate of 67% which is a far cry from that of the Father's Right Movement's 90% mother rate. But why the difference? There seems to be a certain diversification of gender that takes place in the court rooms themselves.Within our court systems there lies an inequality of the sexes. Although we consider gender relations and equality a common place with society, there is a value system which is still held within our courts. If we were to examine a divorce where the mother and father are both the bread winner's, meaning equal income earner's, a problem arises in deciding custody. It is in the courts opinion that mother's who embark upon a career result in losing the...

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