Researchers Ponder Gender Bias & Child Custody Decisions

Posted on Dec 07, 2011

Who is more likely to get custody of your children during a divorce or custody dispute? And, is there a bias toward women when judges decide Washington State child custody cases?

Gender, custody decisions, and public opinion

Researchers recently polled Americans to see whether the public believes that a bias exists when it comes to child custody decisions. Statistics show that while women are more likely to gain custody the vast majority of the time (women win primary custody 68-88 percent of the time, while men win primary custody 8-14 percent of the time), there are a number of factors that go into these decisions.

In this divorce and child custody study, participants were asked who should receive child custody if both parents spend an equal amount of time with their children. Seven out of ten people believed that custody should be split equally, while the remaining three people stated that the mother should have primary custody.

When participants were asked what should happen if children spend more time with their father mother or father, fifty percent said that custody should remain equal. However, more people said that a mother who spends more time with the kids currently should have primary custody than a father who spends more time with the kids currently.

What can we learn from this child custody study? While we are still not sure whether bias against fathers exists in the courts, a small amount of bias does seem to exist at large. At the same time, the public perceives that the court system is biased.

Legal help for child custody cases in Washington State

To speak with a Seattle child custody attorney, call Molly Kenny at 425-460-0550.

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