Is There a Gender Bias in Determining Child Custody?

One of the most commonly misguided notions regarding child custody is that mothers are granted favorable treatment for reasons of gender bias. While the courts used to follow the “tender years doctrine” and give mothers preferential treatment prior to the 1980s, the Supreme Court has abolished this practice and has deemed using gender to justify custody decisions to be a form of sex discrimination, thereby being unconstitutional. In the eyes of the law, both parents are considered to be on a level playing field when vying for custody of their children.


While the sex of a parent is not allowed to be a factor when deciding custody arrangements, the amount of time that a parent spends with their child is still a relevant issue, as it can help judges determine who is acting as the “primary caregiver” of the child. According to statistics from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), married mothers spend an average of 12.9 hours per week with their children, while married fathers spend nearly half this amount at approximately 6.5 hours per week.

Obviously, these statistics do not speak for all families. What this information does reveal, however, is that a mother is more likely to have a stronger bond with her child than a father simply due to the amount of time spent with one another. This bond is a key factor when determining custody, and could be a reason why mothers are granted custody more often than fathers. With that being said, the courts make their decisions on a case-by-case basis in alignment with the best interests of the child.

It is important to remember that just because a mother may spend more time with her child than a father does, this does not directly correlate to a strong relationship. It is completely plausible for a child to spend a majority of their time with their mother, but have a stronger bond with their father for a variety of reasons. Custody decisions require an extensive examination of a child’s living situation and the ability of each parent to provide suitable care.


Regardless of whether you are a mother or father, one thing remains constant: your children are precious to you. If you are a parent seeking custody of your child, a Royal Oak and Oakland county divorce lawyer from Rasor Law Firm can represent your interests in court and fight to help you maintain an active presence in your child’s life. We understand the gravity of your situation, and we are prepared to use our more than two decades of experience to protect your rights and maximize your chances of securing a desirable outcome for your family situation.

To find out more about how we can help, request a complimentary case evaluation or call us today at (248) 796-0334.

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