Is Family Court Biased Toward the Mother?

- Gary E. Williams

In a divorce proceeding, family court always awards the mother a lot more time with the kids and makes the father pay a lot more support. This is one of the most persistent myths about divorce, and it often distorts the expectations of both parents and creates unnecessary stress. It is important that both parents understand how Florida family court makes decisions regarding custody issues and time-sharing.

According to Florida family law statutes, the court may not favor either the mother or the father in a parenting plan. The goal in every plan is to “encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing.” The primary determinant in how this sharing of responsibilities is apportioned is the “best interest of the child,” and this means helping the child maintain as much stability and continuity as possible. Factors considered in establishing time-sharing agreements may include:

  • Which parent will be best able to promote a good relationship between the children and the non-custodial parent;
  • Amount of time each parent spent with the child pre-divorce;
  • Amount of time each parent is able to spend with the child post-divorce;
  • The general best interest of the minor children.

Although, in many families, both parents are employed, mothers typically take care of more childrearing responsibilities than fathers, and this often continues after the divorce. If the father has been the primary caretaker, it may be in the best interest of the child for him to continue in this role.

Florida family court does not take gender into consideration, but judges typically are not happy when either parent refuses to cooperate with a co-parent. Consult with a qualified family law attorney about negotiating a realistic parenting agreement.