I hear a lot about how the courts are biased in favor of mothers when it comes to deciding child custody. After doing a bit of research on the subject I've come to the conclusion that the courts are not the reason mothers get custody in the majority of divorces.
Below are a few stats from a Pew Research Center analysis of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) released in June of 2011.
A married father spends, on average 6.5 hours a week taking part in primary child care activities with his children. The married mother spends, on average 12.9 hours. †Since two income households are now the norm, not the exception the above information indicates that not only are mothers working they are also doing twice as much child care as fathers.
It only makes sense that mothers who have a closer bond due to the time spent caring for a child be the one more likely to obtain custody during a divorce.
Divorced or Unwed Fathers:
More startling are the stats on absent fathers, or the amount of time fathers spend with children once the divorce is final. According to the Pew Research study, when fathers and children live separately 22% of fathers see their children more than once a week. Twenty nine percent of fathers see their children 1-4 times a month. The most disturbing though, 27% of fathers have no contact with their children.
When you take into consideration that mothers spend more time taking care of children before divorce and only 22% of fathers take advantage of spending what I would consider quality and qauntative time with their children after the divorce the fact that more mothers obtain custody seems reasonable...doesn't it?
How Custody is Decided:
According to DivorcePeers.com the majority of child custody cases are not decided by the courts. †In 51% of the cases both parents agreed that mom be the custodial parent. In 29% of the cases the decision was made without any third party involvement. Only 11% of custody cases were decided during mediation with as few as 5% being decided after court order custody evaluations.
In cases where both parents decided, without involvement from a mediator or the court 83% of the time the mother ended up with custody because the father chose to give her custody. What do these statistics tell us?
1. Fathers are less involved in their children's care during the marriage.
2. Fathers are less involved in their children's lives after divorce.
3. Mothers gain custody because the vast majority of fathers choose to give the mother custody.
4. There is no Family Court bias in favor of mothers for the majority of fathers who divorce.