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A closer look at why many believe custody cases favor mothers

Many of the Charlotte couples with whom we’ve helped to negotiate child custody here at Epperson Law PLLC come into such proceedings with the preconceived notion that such decisions are more often likely to cater to the needs of the mother. Many question why this apparent gender bias is present in custody agreements. In this post, we’ll examine some of the factors that go into determining child custody and why, despite no legal statutes requiring it, rulings often will go the mother’s way.

When determining child custody, family courts try to focus on certain key areas of child development, namely:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Moral
  • Mental

The home environment believed to be the most likely at encouraging those aspects of development is typically the one viewed to be the most favorable. In a vast majority of cases, that’s the environment developed by the parent who has been the primary caretaker.

A 2011 study done by the Pew Research Center showed that, on average, American mothers spend 12.9 hours every week directly engaged in parenting time. By way of comparison, fathers average 6.5 hours a week involved in the same activities. While various socioeconomic factors may influence those statistics, the end results still point to the mothers as being most likely to maintain a home environment similar to that which was present prior to a divorce. At the same time, that belief may also be viewed as a reason why nearly 25 percent of American fathers do not live with their children.

However, such statistics should not be viewed as a deterrent to fathers and mothers working together to come to an amicable joint custody agreement. Whether it’s through the family court of through mediation, such agreements are possible.

For more information on custody agreements, please visit our Child Custody page.