Court Gender Bias

Because of Court Gender Bias, in the US, a biological mother is 7 times more likely to be awarded full custody of a child than a biological father.

In the US, the default ruling in many court custody cases is for both parents to have access to the children. This is because there is documentary evidence and a general belief that children fare best when both parents remain involved in their children's lives after a divorce.

It is nationally more common (by a ratio of about 7 to 1) for mothers to be granted primary custody of the children with fathers having visitation rights. However, the percentage of cases in which a father gains primary or sole custody of the children is increasing as society's attitudes towards gender roles become more neutral.

It is also important to bear in mind that national statistics are not necessarily indicative of what happens when one or more of the divorcing parties suffers from a personality disorder, for which there are no known statistics.

Many people, when asked, believe that mothers are naturally better caregivers than fathers. Fathers, who want to protect their children from an abusive mother, are often afraid to take decisive action because they fear:

  • Facing ridicule or disbelief from police or social services.
  • Losing all contact with their children at the hands of a gender-biased legal system
  • Facing steep legal costs.
  • Facing abuse themselves at the hands of the perpetrator
  • Being judged by their communities, families and friends.

Custody Award Statistics

Courts seem to agree. US Divorce Statistics show that a divorcing mother is 7 times more likely to retain sole custody of her children than a father:

USA 1990 Custody Statistics (19 States reporting) Percentage
Sole possession granted to mother 72.5%
Sole possession granted to father 10.3%
Joint possession 15.7%
Possession granted to other person(s) 1.4%


Child Support Statistics

When it comes to child support, US census data indicates that:

  • 79.6% of custodial mothers receive a child support award
  • 29.9% of custodial fathers receive a child support award

US census data also indicates that fathers are more likely to fulfil their child support obligations than mothers:

  • 43% of moms required to pay child support are "deadbeat moms" - i.e. they default on 100% of the money they owe,
  • 32% of dads required to pay child support are "deadbeat dads" - i.e. they default on 100% of the money they owe.

One of the reasons that "deadbeat dads" get most of the bad press in the popular media is that there are a lot more of them - primarily for 2 reasons:

  • There are 7 times more fathers than mothers who do not have primary custody of the children.
  • Fathers are 3 times more likely than mothers to be ordered to pay child support than their female counterparts.

Source: 2002 Fox News Article

In spite of this, there are many men who have successfully demonstrated in court that they are able to provide their children with the most stable, nurturing and loving environment. You can meet some of them in ourSeparating & Divorcing Support Forum