March 16, 2016 By Paul Wallin

While social movements have been successful in removing many of the gender-based stereotypes that used to factor into child custody decisions, there still exists is a large disparity between the percentages of mothers who are awarded child custody compared to fathers who are granted custody.

While California courts no longer operate with a presumption that children are better off with their mother, public perception is that men face a more difficult time getting custody than women. Knowing the current state of the law, and hiring an experienced family law attorney can help fathers win legal and physical custody of their children.

While the Courts are Advancing, Public Perception is Lagging Behind

In the past few decades, there has been a marked increase in the number of child custody cases that result in 50-50 shared custody, but mothers are still awarded primary custody more often than fathers. Across a number of jurisdictions, estimates suggest that mothers retain primary custody at least two-thirds of the time, while fathers are awarded primary custody only 8-14% of the time.[1]

These numbers must be examined more closely, though, in order to understand the father’s chances of ending up as the primary custody holder. According to statistics gathered by Divorce Peers, the majority of child custody cases are agreed upon by parents without going to court.[2] This may help to explain some of the disparity in custody cases.

Let’s say you are involved in a child custody case. If you are the father, you may think that the court will automatically award primary custody to the mother, so you may agree to less custody time to avoid a costly legal battle.

But is it the case that courts always favor the mother in custody issues? California courts decide custody based on the “best interests of the child.” This includes looking at who the primary caregiver is, assessing parent-child bonds, as well as the relationship with the other parent.[3]

This is to say that courts do not operate with an automatic presumption that custody with the mother is always best way for the child. In fact, when custody cases are decided by the courts, the percentage of cases that end in joint custody is almost equal to the percentage that ends in primary custody to the mother.[4]

Primary Custody with the Father is Still Rare

Joint custody may be on the rise, but the awarding of primary custody to the father is still uncommon. However, being armed with the knowledge that a court will not automatically award custody to the mother can help you make smarter decisions when you are going through a custody battle.

Custody proceedings are some of the most stressful events in a person’s life. This is why it is important that you hire an experienced family attorney who knows the law and can fight to protect your custody rights.

Speak to a Wallin & Klarich Family Attorney Today

At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled family law attorneys have been successfully representing our clients in child custody cases for over 30 years. We can help you, too.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney can help you no matter your location.

Call us at (888) 749-7428 for a free telephone consultation. We will be there when you call.

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