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How does gender play a role in the psychological bias which is seen in custody battles?

by | May 28, 2022 | Psychology | 0 comments

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I am answering the question of: How does gender play a role in the psychological bias which is seen in custody battles? I want to answer that question, so far I have this, anything else you want to add is fine.
Chapter 1
When custody is being discussed, people have the tendency to believe the woman will usually be awarded sole or joint (in the female’s favor) custody. However, the validity of these claims was always something that deserved further investigation. How does gender affect the perception of who can raise a child? My interest in this research topic comes from my husband’s childhood story and the reality of the way it impacted him. Do moms have an upper hand advantage when it comes to obtaining custody of their children, because of the assumption they deserve it, rather than the actual fact of if they do?
In 1997 a boy was born to a woman and man. This couple met and conceived the child while stationed on a U.S. Naval ship. This couple loved the baby deeply, however, the love they had for one another became more and more superficial. Arguments, infidelity, drinking, and drug use became a part of their daily lives; especially when they both left the U.S. Navy. Hatred towards one another became apparent, yet the love for the baby never faltered. As time went on, what was to come became obvious, which was divorce. Divorce became painfully obvious as the only option left for the couple to somewhat leave on good terms. Yet, as the divorce proceedings began, two things stood out. One is the father, although he loved his child with all of his heart, didn’t fight for custody; knowing that the mother was an alcoholic and drug abuser. The second thing that stood out was that the mother did not have the means to support herself with a child, from a financial and job security perspective, yet was never questioned regarding this.
As the child aged, the environment they were growing up in became very toxic. Surrounded by drugs, and multiple men, some of who were violent towards the mother and child, it was not a place for anyone, let alone a kid to thrive. The father became more worried as it became obvious the child was not hitting the marks for the grade they were in, and because of the hatred of authority, the child was demonstrating. Yet, the court was not the ones who changed the decision on who had superior custody. The mother ended up contacting the father who was already raising concerns, and asked if he would take care of the child; she longer could support him. What followed the child after the change was a lot of hard work when it came to catching up on his education, learning to accept authority, and a lot of resentment towards his mother. After so much had happened, could this have been avoided? If the court would have looked into the case more, could something have changed? Did no one question the mother receiving custody, because she is the mother? Why was a decision on who should raise the child somewhat inevitably, but only the child was the one who suffered from 12 years of trauma?
When dealing with subjects of law, knowing some of the key terms and concepts can help understand what is going on within a trial or case study. Some of the terms that may be beneficial go as follows:
Ancillary Hearing (A hearing that occurs outside of the main trial)
Bench Trial (A trial in which the judge is given all the information without a jury)
Case in Chief (The testimony with evidence of one side of the case)
Cross-Examination (The opposing attorney questioning the witness)
Physical Custody (The parents awarded physical custody decides where the child will be staying and is the sole provider for the child)
Legal Custody (The parent has the right to make decisions for the child when it comes to things regarding education, medical care, and religion)
Joint Custody (The child’s time is split half and half with both parents)
Split Custody (This occurs in cases of two or more child households, this is when one child is under the custody of one parent, and the other child is under the custody of the other parent)
Primary Caretaker (is someone who has been awarded custody who is not one of the parents)
The majority of the time custody is seen as the main term, and although it is the basis, there are many types and subsections to how custody is given, and it is vitally important to understand the situation the family is in now abiding by.
The scope of this research will be based on custody battles within the last five years, and will only be dealing with households with no more than two children. For the purposes of gender being the main discussion, only custody battles dealing with a man and woman will be focused on. I will also be comparing the effect race has on the outcome of custody battles.
From this point what will be discussed is the literature on this topic and the reason why moms would have the tendency of being awarded custody (chapter two); current statistics that support or disagree with the argument that gender plays a role in custody battles (chapter three); interviews with experts within the field (chapter four); the conclusion based on the data that was collected (chapter 5). Although there might be a preference as to why moms would be given custody, is there a scientific reason as to why this would occur? Are there benefits to a child to staying with a mother rather than a father?
Chapter 2
The term “deadbeat” has become very popular in recent times, yet, we usually hear this term referring to fathers. This brings up the question of do fathers have the same potential when it comes to raising a kid as a mother, yet is it their mentality that decreases their reliability? That mentality being although a mother may not be perfect, she’s expected to provide for her child regardless of the situation because she is plainly… the mother. In many movies, speeches, and pieces of literature we see dedications made to mothers, especially when it comes to extreme (positive or negative) situations. Still, these dedications only have the tendency to be towards mothers, but why? Some studies suggest that it comes from almost an instinctual understanding to children that mothers believe the most important aspect of their lives is their children. Stemming from that the reason children tend to think of their mothers in moments of struggle, danger, and excitement is because if something happens to a child, the mother will be much more affected than the father. Even after reviewing the US Census Bureau’s documents detailing the different aspects of custodial awards that had percentages taken into account, it did show that women won the majority of cases, yet in these situations, almost half of the women given custody to their children didn’t receive either the full or half of what they were also awarded in child support. On a scientific note, it should also be taken into consideration that although both mother and father passed half of their genetic traits down. Thomas Hobbes, one of the most widely known philosophers even states that women have an instinctual maternal vow that when dealing with the natural order of society, they have dominion over their offspring.
Chapter 3:
Statistical examination of gender bias within custodial rights has displayed numerous analytical views that support the bias held within the parental rights of the child. These statistics all break down to the martial status of the parents and their time with the child. For example, married fathers typically spend “6.5 hours a week taking part in primary child care activities with his children. The married mother spends, on average 12.9 hours.” (Meyers). For an additional account, Mothers are commonly seen to provide another source of the income of the household, thus doing double the work and care for the child as the fathers. Still, because of these statistics, custody is usually given to the mothers solely based on their time spent with the child. In the eyes of the court, it would harm the child to allow them to stay with the parent who has shown the least amount of care and time with them. Furthermore, gender bias is continued to be upheld through the courts by examination of divorced families. Divorced fathers show alarming statistics about their time spent with the child. Research shows that when the father and children live separately from each other, “22% of fathers see their children more than once a week. Twenty-nine percent of fathers see their children, 1-4 times a month. The most disturbing though, 27% of fathers have no contact with their children.” (Meyers). The fact that only 22% of divorced fathers spend time with their children is disturbing. Yes, their relationship with them may be over, but their relationship with their child should be forever. It must also be taken into account that these Mothers still spend more time with their children before and after divorce. So, when courts examine custodial and parental rights for the child, it will be seen that the mother spends more time with the child than the father, whether the parents are married or not. Gender bias may play a role in this battle, and many fathers believe that it is unfair and a disadvantage to their fight for custody. However, statistics show that these fathers already spend less time with their children when they are married, so it makes it look even more unappealing when it is shown that
only a small percentage of divorced fathers spend quality time with their children. In contrast to these statistics, the fairness of the time given to the fathers may be questioned. How can gender bias custody battles affect a family and the father’s relationship with his child? An examination of state percentages of the awarded custody to fathers must be analyzed. For example, “Tennessee is the lowest ranking state in the study results, with 78.2% of the State’s custody decisions favoring female parents and just 21.8% ranks highest in its courts’ ratio of outcomes in which the vast share of custody time goes to the female parent.” (Pedrazas). These alarming statistics show that the circumstance of the custodial battle may not make a difference in the court’s decision to award the parent. For 78.2% of Tennessee, custody battles to be awarded to the mother must mean that these mothers are fit to parent, which may not always be the case. Also, this can cause a rift in the father’s relationship with his children. According to statistical reviews, Tennessee’s low awarded custodial time to fathers bears the fact that “mothers in that state receive 285 days per year with their kids, whereas fathers have only about 80 days with them.” (Pedrazas). This examination shows that fathers are given a small amount of time to spend with their children. Additionally, it must be taken into account that emergencies may come up in the father’s life or his own relationship with the mother and whether or not she is spiteful enough to withhold that amount of time from him. Children are unable to spend quality time with their fathers in such a small amount of time. They are also unable to share their life experiences, discussions, and enjoyable activities with their fathers for only 80 days of the year. The circumstance of the custodial battle should help play a role in states who clearly have a gender bias within their family court systems. The effect of this bias on the child should also be taken into consideration when deciding the awarded custodial time to the parents.
Chapter 4
Professional Opinions are judgments made by individuals or groups who are experienced in such discussions or debates. These professionals may have had years of practice within the field or have an educational background that grants them knowledge of the discussion. Gender Bias within the court system is still a contentious subject and how it plays a role in the fairness of the ruling. Despite statistics sharing that custody is often granted to the mother, Weiman, and Associates law firm state that “modern fathers are not only more often active in their kids’ lives than previous generations, but also taking on more of the traditional parenting roles than men in the past.” (Weiman & Associates). This opinion shows that fathers are beginning to show more action and spend more time with their children, despite having lost a custody battle. They do not let that loss get in the way of continuing a relationship with their children. This puts into question: How can Fathers show they are a better fit for the child? Most Judges rule in the best interest of the child, so they may award custody to children who are closer to the Father. Professionals suggest that Fathers should dispute the opinion that “Fathers are never there”, and start to become more active by showing more knowledge to this discussion. According to Attorneys Erika L. Salerno and Julia A. Perkins, fathers should “educate themselves with parenting guides and books as well as enroll in and take parenting classes to ensure that they can cast themselves in the best possible light before the court.” (Salerno and Perkins). By doing this, it will help create a new narrative for Fathers and combat the high percentage of unfair rulings in custody battles. This will also show that it doesn’t matter about the gender of the parent, but rather the effort put in by the parent for their child.
Though Gender bias is usually seen in favor of the mother and not the father, there are some instances where the mother loses custody of her children. In some circumstances, custody is awarded to the father where abusive relationships have occurred. The court may rule in favor of the father because the mother was being “too dramatic” or “lied” about her own abuse. The nonprofit organization “Virginia is for Children” investigates these types of custodial battles, and brings awareness to these circumstances through their own professional opinion. According to this organization, custody battles may be “a method by which abusers continue to maintain their authority and control over their victims after separation.” (VSDValliance). Furthermore, these abusive fathers and the court systems test the validity and emotional trauma of these mothers by having these women “revictimized by the family courts and the professionals that become involved by tactics such as suppressing evidence of domestic violence, ignoring evidence of domestic violence, labeling violence as a “lover’s quarrel,” accepting false testimony that the father was just “doing the things she does to me,” and labeling a child’s abuse disclosure as maternal coaching.” (VSDValliance). This professional statement shows the mental and emotional trauma that some mothers are put through because of the bias some judges may have against Women during custodial battles. These men go to extreme lengths to protect their own gender and egos. Moreover, professionals continue to share that the interest of the child still isn’t being considered. These children are stuck with a father who may be abusive towards them as well and using them as leverage to continue to show abusive and disgusting behavior towards their Mother. Despite this, courts still rule in favor of the male due to their egoistic logic and mesogenic behavior toward women that invalidates their own physical and mental trauma.
Chapter 5
Custodial battles between parents have been a trivial discussion. Individuals always seek out to see who would be the best caretaker for the child. Some groups approach this discussion biologically, stating that both parents deserve 50/50 due to their exchange of DNA for the child. In contrast, other groups believe in maternal caretakers and that the child should always be with the mother since she is the one who has carried the child for nine months and has given birth. Despite these factors, numerous court systems within America hold a gender bias in their ruling of custody. It has always been questioned by fathers on why they are given an unfair ruling. Moreover, professionals question the court’s authority to award custody to a parent who is obviously unfit but is still awarded custody due to their common gender with the Judicial officials. This has been the debate for decades. Statics show that custodial battles continue to display these trivial topics of question and show a higher percentage of gender bias within their rulings. Regardless of statistical evidence, the fact of the matter is that all court rulings should be in favor of the child’s best interest. No matter who the child goes with, that parent will have a significant impact on the child’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Furthermore, these awarded parents will set the child’s futuristic behavior to the world around them. Gender bias should not play a role in court rulings. The child needs to be with the parent who they are most comfortable with, not because of the parent’s gender. If the child is more comfortable with the father, then custody should go to the father. Additionally, if the mother is being abused by her children’s father and he is using them as leverage to continue his domestic abuse, custody should be awarded to the mother, rather than testing her emotional trauma. These factors and circumstances should be taken into consideration when ruling on the custodial protection of the child. By doing this, it will ensure a healthy and successful future for the children and they will continue to maintain a healthy relationship with both parents.

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