Historically, New York family courts were in the practice of awarding custody to mothers far more often than fathers. Just twenty years ago, this was certainly the case, but year by year, the attitudes have been shifting. Today, more than ever before, the family courts are no longer presuming that the mother is the best choice.
Why the change? Much of it has to do with society shifts, namely women in the workforce. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, "There are 74.6 million women in the civilian labor force," and nearly "47 percent of U.S. workers are women." Going further, 75 percent of mothers with children under the age of 18 work full-time.
"Mothers are the primary or sole earners for 40 percent of households with children under 18 today, compared with 11 percent in 1960," the DOL reports. As you can only imagine, this dramatic shift in employment for mothers has affected how the family courts handle contested child custody cases.
When Do Dads Win Custody?
Fathers win sole custody of their children from the same reasons mothers do. Some of the common reasons include child abuse, neglect, abandonment, mental illness, criminal behavior, alcoholism, substance abuse, and the inability to provide proper food, clothing, shelter and medical care for one's children.
However, the courts are not in the habit of splitting families apart or denying a parent access to his or her children unless it's reasonable, justified and necessary for the child's welfare and safety. If a woman is a caring and loving mother and she fights for joint physical custody (also known as residential custody), the court will have to closely review the facts of the case and render a decision based on the best interests of the child doctrine.
In the end, the mother and father could end up with a joint physical and legal custody arrangement, or the mother or father may be awarded more than 50% of the time with the children. In that case, the custodial parent would have sole physical custody and the other parent would receive visitation.
Related: "A Lawyer's Advice to Divorced Fathers"
Need assistance with a child custody matter on Long Island? Contact Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C. to get started.