Historically, courts favored giving custody of young children to mothers. There were several doctrines which were utilized as the basis to support giving mothers custody of young children. This doctrine was known as either the “tender years doctrine” or the “maternal preference doctrine”. The basis for this legal theory favored giving mothers custody of young children because it was in the children’s best interests to be raised by their mother. Research eventually showed children benefited by having both parents involved in raising them.
Gender Neutral Custody Laws
The “maternal preference” and “tender years doctrine” theories were eventually replaced by laws which provided no gender preference with regard to who would raise the children. Father’s rights lawyers have maintained, however, even though the laws have changed and there is no longer a preference for mothers to have custody of young children, the laws are not fairly enforced by the courts. They claim the courts still favor mothers with regard to custody matters, and the statistics as to who gets custody of young children supports these claims.
Children’s Best Interests
The courts in New York decide who receives custody of children based on what is in the children’s best interests. The courts look into each of the parent’s interactions with the children. Parents who nurture children and who are involved in their children’s lives on a regular basis are viewed more favorably by courts than parents who are only sporadically involved in their children’s lives. Mothers seeking custody of their children should be involved in their children’s lives on a day to day basis. The best way for mothers to prepare for custody legal battles is to consult with attorneys who are experienced in litigating cases involving mother’s rights and have had a successful track record of obtaining custody for mothers.