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Gender Bias In The Courts: A Case For The Fathers

1290 words - 5 pages

It shouldn't be an issue in the modern world, but it seems that old habits die hard. Child custody gender bias still manages to rear its ugly head in the family courtrooms across the country. All too often a father is viewed as incapable of showing the same kind of loving and devoted parenting to children which mother's are supposed to be known for. The courts often fall back on the stigma that children should be with the mother despite the fact that single fathers have proven themselves capable to handle the pressure of parenting alone. This paper will look at two scenarios that prove the bias exists in our family courts.Imagine a man and a woman marries and decides to start a family. The couple has two children and the family is complete. The father works so that the mother can stay home with the children, life is good. Soon though the mother starts going out during the evenings and eventually stops coming home. Eventually the father is granted sole custody in the divorce because the mother does not appear in court and the father is left to work and care for the two infant children. Now fast forward eight years to see the mother return and file papers with the court for custody of the children who have not seen her in all that time. What recourse does the father have? How can he fight for what is right for the children he has raised alone for eight years? The father turns to the courts and hopes for the best.Custody cases in California are a high dollar item for lawyers and the courts and men impale themselves emotionally and financially trying to get a fair shake in the court system. In California courts it is mandatory that couples go through a mediation process and in the majority of cases still must go before a judge in the court room (LA Superior Court, 2009). The court places an enormous weight on the decision of the mediator and generally decides as the mediator requests (Kinsey, n.d.).In the above scenario during the mediation Discovery process it was found that the mother had not worked in 12 years, was on welfare, been in county jail numerous times for a myriad of charges that included drug use and distribution and probation violations. The mother did not own a car nor was she eligible for a license. The Discovery phase of mediation reflected the father worked steadily for 15 years, owned his home and had the children in private school and after-school care. The children were thriving in school and at home. Though the children had not seen nor heard from their mother for eight years the mediator chose to believe it was the mother's right to have joint custody of the children. The court awarded joint custody to the mother which allowed the children to live in her one bedroom apartment two weeks per month.The back child support owed by the mother to the father in the amount of $21,000 was waived. The court decided that the father would now be responsible for paying monthly child support to the mother because the mother was on welfare...

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