I often hear that the courts are biased in favor of women retaining custody of the children, but I disagree. More often than not, fathers willingly move from the residence they once shared with their ex once the relationship breaks down. Whether they move because their ex asks them to, or because they yearn to get away from the discord that has developed, men often leave willingly. And it damages their ability to gain custody of the children.
Mothers on the other hand, rarely leave their children behind if they move. In my opinion, although there are many factors for the court to consider when awarding custody, this one factor stands out above all others. Who is the primary custodian of the children? How can the father claim that title if he moves out?
It’s simple, he cannot.
Judges are charged with considering the best interests of the child. One parent must be chosen and in the event that both parents are equally good people, how does the judge decide? The child has already undergone a large change when the relationship of his parents broke down, so many judges reason that another change (moving custody from the custodial parent to the non-custodial parent) is not in the child’s best interest. This one factor, (who is the child’s primary custodian?) often is the factor that pushes the decision to the custodial parent.
Fathers are not being discriminated against….they just aren’t sticking around. If you want joint custody of your children, or want to be the residential parent, then it is imperative that you stay in the same home with the child until you have a court order detailing your time with your child. After you move out, you have lost any leverage that you had.
If the fathers stick around until the court makes a decision about the best interests of their child, then they are on the same ground as the mother.