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Courts have become more gender neutral in custody cases

A fathers' rights movement gaining momentum in our country is raising awareness of what advocates claim is a legal bias when it comes to women in custody cases. This trend is evidenced in one respect by the many websites and social networking outlets that now exist for disgruntled men to air their grievances. A common complaint of fathers' rights activists is that child custody courts will side with a mother even if the father is the better parent. But change appears to be coming in an age where fathers want to be a part of their children's upbringing, and fathers don't want the breakup of a relationship to prevent them from having a say in how their children are raised.

As wonderful as it is to know that there is an increasing number of men who want to be fathers for their children, one has to wonder if the claimed legal bias actually exists. According to some, there has been a shift in perspective over the last few decades that focuses more on gender neutrality, which doesn't conform to the idea of a wage-earning husband and a stay-at-home wife. Despite these claims, a study of custody cases in the 1980s showed that sole mother custody remained the most common outcome.

What most courts have been trending toward is joint custody. This is the case in Georgia, where joint legal custody is usually granted unless one parent is proven to be unfit. In these joint custody agreements, Georgia seeks to arrange parenting time in a fair 50/50 split. More power has been given to the courts to resolve custody issues in an effort to keep custody disputes fair.

If you are a father involved in a child custody dispute, do not lose hope. While courts may have perennially favored women, the ultimate goal of the courts is to be fair and to do what is best for children. Strong legal counsel can help you make your case as a good parent and help you get the custody treatment that you deserve.

Source: Valley News, "Column: Vigilante Fathers Are Challenging Mothers' Rights in Court," Hanna Rosin, May 16, 2014

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William C. Gentry, Attorney at Law

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