The last 100 years have seen huge social changes when it comes to human rights. Women, children, people of color, the LGBTQ community – there is no end to the positive changes that have occurred in recent decades when it comes to awareness of people’s rights, and knowing how they should be treated. But it’s likely we can all agree, that for all the progress made, we still have a long way to go. Some areas of life change more rapidly than others. Some mindsets are more open to adaptation than their counterparts. And the court is no different when it comes to the issue of divorce and parenting.
Judges carry biases just like everyone else.
Judges are human beings. They are influenced by the mindsets of their generations, their gender, their upbringing, and their socio-economic status. Which means they make judgement calls that are influenced by what they believe to be right, not just what the law says. Obviously, a Judge is required to pass sentence and hand down orders based on strict sets of guidelines, but they have a surprising amount of leeway when it comes to certain things. And even custody agreements aren’t beyond the scope of a Judge’s personal opinions and biases, despite having a system in place to manage these.
Traditionally, mothers were awarded custody during divorces.
Decades ago, when the people most commonly getting divorced were white, middle and upper class, parents, custody was awarded to the mother because fathers were the breadwinners and weren’t available to care for their children. Moms stayed home, Dads went to work. It was just the way it was, and no one thought to question the status quo. But things have changed. Many moms work full time jobs. Many dads stay home with their kids, or work from home. It’s a different world, but not everyone’s mindset has changed with the times, includes some Judges.
Some judges haven’t caught up with changing trends.
We still see it today – moms who are given preference in custody agreements simply because they’re moms. Not because they’re more available, or because they provide better care, but simply because they fill the role of “mother”. For fathers who love their kids and want to be with them more often than just a few hours a week, this can be extremely frustrating (not to mention unfair!) So what do you do? How do you get past this outdated bias and beat a broken system? As one Michigan father recently discovered, sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do the court will lean towards old beliefs, despite all evidence to the contrary!
The system sometimes fails dads and it can be tragic!
Join us next time for a look at a current case here in Michigan where a dad did everything in his power to gain custody of his daughter, but an outdated court mindset kept her living with her mentally ill mother, to a tragic end. Until then, if you or a loved one are trying to gain custody of a child, but believe that the court is holding you back without reason, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 and talk to one of our skilled and experienced family law attorneys. We can help.