Are Women Getting Custody More Often than Men in Arizona?
One of the most difficult things a person can go through is divorce or separation from a partner. That process can become immeasurably more complicated when there are minor children involved. The best case scenario is that separation and all associated issues, including child custody arrangements, are made amicably. However, that is not always the case.
When you begin a separation or child custody process, it is important to have an Arizona family court attorney by your side. The law can be complicated and these situations often bring out strong emotions on all sides. You want to ensure that someone will be your advocate, looking out for the best interests of both you and your child.
What Happens In Custody Cases?
When it comes to child custody, you will learn that there are two types that need to be agreed upon. These two types are physical custody and legal custody.
Physical custody deals with which parent or guardian a child will live with. There are options for sole physical custody where a child will live with one parent or joint physical custody where the child will reside with both.
Legal custody deals with which parent gets to make major decisions about a child’s upbringing. This can include educational, religious, and medical decisions. Again, there can be both sole or joint legal custody.
For non-custodial parents, there is usually an arranged visitation schedule that is arranged during the custody hearing process.
Are Judges Biased?
Over the years, you may have heard that mothers tend to get more custody time than fathers do. Traditionally, that has been the case, but there have been major improvements over the years to remedy this. However, a new study of trial court judges shows us that ‘fair arbiters’ of the law “sometimes let their personal ideas about gender roles influence their decision-making.”
The study delves into how judges with long experience in family law ruled versus ones with less experience:
- Judges with more family law experience tended to engage in more gender biased decision-making.
The study even found that judges in shared custody cases were more likely than laypeople with no law experience to give more custody time to the mother.
“Judges with more expertise in family law tended to engage in more biased decision-making than those with less experience in family court,” says University of Illinois psychology professor Andrea Miller.
Is Gender Neutrality Possible?
How can we reach a point where child custody cases are not based on gender but rather on the merits of each parent’s case? There are many things that need to be taken into account when it comes to custody. Above all, the court will look at what is in the best interest of the child. This can include:
- Who has been the child’s primary caretaker
- The child’s preference if they are old enough
- The mental and physical health of the parents
- Other people in each parents’ households
- Evidence of or history of parental drug, alcohol, or physical abuse
- Child’s adjustment to school and community
- And more
Child Custody Is Complex
The issue of child custody needs to be taken seriously if you want your child to be a part of your life. During a separation or child custody case, emotions run high and things are said that can be used against you. An Arizona family law attorney can walk you through the process and ensure that you are treated fairly. Child custody agreements have implications that can last until a child turns 18, so please take steps to ensure you receive a favorable outcome.
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