Sometimes Law Is a Little Biased Against Men
Justice is supposed to be blind. Courts are believed to be impartial, using the law alone to decide the outcome of a case. Many people think that mothers win custody because they are mothers. They suffered through pregnancy, changed diapers, and soothed tears. Don’t they deserve more? As a culture, we’ve changed and so should these cultural stereotypes.
In our modern society, men change diapers, too. They read bedtime stories and chase away monsters lurking under the bed. They move heaven and earth to establish themselves in their career field, provide for their families, and still attend every piano recital and Little League game. Yet, somehow, when the man and woman stand in court, only the woman is viewed as a nurturer.
Society sees single mothers at struggling and economically disadvantaged. When women work a full day, help with homework, prepare supper, and fall into bed exhausted, others shake their heads and wonder what kind of father abandons his family to such stress. Despite men suffering the same problems, society still sees them as the enemy.
When people divorce, both feel a financial impact. Often, one household that used to share two incomes becomes two, each of which must be large enough to accommodate children. If the husband or father must move out of a family home, he has relocation expenses and often must furnish his new living quarters from scratch. People often see him as living a carefree bachelor life free of responsibility.
Is the bias just in perception or does it affect the outcome in court? One judicial bias survey found judges are predisposed to rule against men in divorce proceedings.
Evidence of Judicial Bias
When asked why so many courts ruled in favor of women, one judge said most cases were settled out of court, because men recognized living with the mother benefitted the children. He went on to admit that he sometimes viewed men who took their cases through trial as problem litigants. Jeffrey Feulner, Orlando divorce lawyer, has seen these biases, and it’s his mission to level the playing field.
The Tender Years Doctrine was a legal principle widely used in the 20th century, awarding mother custody until the child turned 16 due to the assumed needs of children for their mothers during “tender years.” Courts replaced that doctrine with the Best Interests Principle, which requires courts to evaluate and balance all elements relevant to the case. However, many courts still support the Tender Years doctrine and admit they use it in deciding custody cases.
During the survey, one judge said fathers must prove their parenting abilities while women are assumed to have them already. Another judge said women have a psychological makeup that makes them better able to care for children. Judges report their views as follows:
- 56 percent of Minnesota judges agree children belong with their mothers.
- 69 percent of male attorneys believe judges assume – before hearing evidence – that children belong in maternal custody.
- 94 percent of male attorneys and 84 percent of female attorneys say judges exhibit bias against fathers at least some of the time.
- Judges are less likely to believe fathers can nurture when they work outside the home.
Whether you need Jeffrey Feulner as a domestic violence attorney or for something less extreme, you can count on his compassion. Children aren’t items that people can pass back and forth without consequences.
If you’re a father, you most likely want to perform your parental responsibilities and protect your relationship with your children. It’s imperative to hire an attorney who knows the Florida judicial system and can help you protect yourself against bias. Contact Jeffrey Feulner, men’s divorce lawyer, today.