Gender and Child Custody

Essay by Steve DavidsonUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, October 1996

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Gender and custody within the courts Excellent grasp of concpets

Gender and Child Custody

Within the fabric of our society their seems to be a ideology about gender and child custody. This ideology stems from the facts about who should be the legal guardian of their son or daughter. The stereotypical views of our culture would perceive that women are more suited for the task of child development leaving the father bound to support the child. This created such movements as the 'father's right's movement' where they were determined to appeal to the masses by attempting to change the ideology of guardianship and the role of the mother. Nancy D. Polikoff, who wrote the article 'Gender and Child Custody Determinations: Exploding the Myths', attempts to clear some of the mis-conceptions about the guardianship of children in referring to the father's claim's.

Polikoff's argument about gender and child custody is ' the belief that women have an unfair advantage over men in divorce courts.'

(Polikoff, p 183). She begins to argue that it is our cultural beliefs that the mother should be the guardian for the child because she has legal birth right, hence she is the child's mother. Society therefore placed the child with it's mother without having seen the circumstances or status of either parent. Although she is the birth mother the court system see's the division of the family different from that of the ideologies held by society. The Father's Right Movement, which resembles the Women's right's movement, attempted to sway society into believe that only women get custody of their children.

'The claim that father's are discriminated against in custody decisions tends to center on the statistics that about 90 percent of the children of divorce are in the custody of their mothers, and the 'tender...