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Are mothers favored over fathers in child custody hearings?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2022 | Child Custody

In decades past, there was an assumption that children should stay with their mother after a marital breakup. The reason for this stemmed from mothers traditionally being the main caregivers of the family. These days, however, fathers in Virginia are more involved in the lives of their children, and most courts today factor this into their decisions. Yet, why does it seem like family courts still rule in favor of mothers when it comes to child custody following a divorce?

Primary caregivers

A significant factor that courts use in determining child custody is who has been the primary caregiver for the children. Courts will look at which parent has been caring for the children the most in terms of who has been bearing the most parental responsibilities and day-to-day tasks. Many times, these factors point to the mothers, due to the way a lot of marriages are structured. Fathers who are pursuing child custody could benefit by taking on as many daily parenting tasks as they see fit.

Parent-child relationships

Courts will also closely examine the relationships between the parents and children. Generally, the younger a child is, the greater the bond he or she has with the mother as opposed to the father. This is due to general parenting roles and is not necessarily a reflection on the father. Typically, mothers feed and nurture children up through the toddler years, so their bond is a strong one. Fathers who are seeking custody of their young children should learn how to provide the needed care and support.

Keep in mind that laws differ depending on the state. Also, conventions and standards can differ from judge to judge. Fathers in Virginia who want to obtain custody of their child may want to consider speaking with an experienced legal representative. A knowledgeable family law attorney can clarify what the courts are looking for and help clients increase their odds of gaining child custody.