Parenting Time & Decision Making

Do Fathers Receive Equal Parenting Opportunity in Divorce?

dad on laptop while mom holds toddler

The Russell Alexander Law Scholarship is awarded annually to a Canadian to a student with an interest in joining or studying the legal industry. In 2020, Mary Hallett received $2,000 towards her upcoming tuition in addition to $500 towards technology or supplies of her choice. The scholarship application includes an essay component to challenge applicants to think critically about timely themes in the legal field. Mary’s essay response addresses injustice for fathers.

Submit your scholarship application for a chance to have your essay featured on our blog.

Mother v. Father: Parenting Arrangements

The judicial system was created to evaluate controversial debates through the means of ethical correctness. This system of alleged fairness is examining custody trials with the same prejudice that was challenged 70 years ago. An average of nearly 80% of children are placed in maternal custody; drastically contrasting the 13% of children in a shared custody arrangement. It is quite obvious that society does not consider men to be the primary caregivers, therefore creating a disadvantage in getting custody of one’s children. Many factors should contribute to such a life altering decision rather than approaching the case with an old-fashioned bias. Further explained will be the varying perspectives of each parent and the reason for unequal distribution in the system ironically represented by a scale.

The belief that the socialization of children is a maternal role was established in early hunter-gatherer societies. This was recognized as a means to fairly divide the labour in accordance with the physical characteristics of the sexes. This traditional distribution of labour stuck and was rarely changed as it would threaten the status quo. Women have always been capable of taking on the instrumental role, yet it was the societal expectation that men act as the family head. Eventually, women grew tired of the expressive role and fought tirelessly to enter the workforce. From the earliest suffragettes to Rosie the Riveter and countless other feminist movements, only a 12.7% difference exists of full-time workers between the genders at this point. John Gray attempts to bridge the gap between intergender communication with his work; Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. Martians tend to prefer leadership roles; often considering themselves the breadwinners. A Martian is not particularly sympathetic and patience is not a strong suit. A Venusian is more thoughtful. In nature, a Venusian is nurturing and communicative. These characteristics are traditionally associated with the sexes, it is quite common to see male Venusians and female Martians. A family oriented father would have a much harder time coping with the loss of custody than a business oriented mother. Children may pose as a hinderance to a woman in the workplace. The mother in the household is typically the parent in which the school secretary calls when a student is sick. Leaving work for appointments, sports, and recitals will become a regular occurrence and reap detriment on a mother’s performance in a job.

Divorce is the most likely to occur within the first seven years of marriage. After the excitement of the ceremony and the honeymoon, the relationship is sure to become strained. The first challenge comes with living together and learning to fairly distribute tasks. Many will choose to begin family shortly there after. The birth of a child is an act of permanence. This subconsciously brings out a desire and humans to feel young and desirable. Raising an infant is not glamorous and a new redistribution of tasks is required. 67% of couples feel a loss of satisfaction in the relationship after the birth of the first child. One or both parties are now more likely than ever to commit acts of infidelity in order to gain the absent satisfaction. Adultery is responsible for up to 40% of divorces in the United States. Many other marriages end with the introduction of financial hardship; which is likely to occur with the addition of a child. Regardless of the cause of the divorce, the matter of the fact is that it is most likely to occur within the earliest years of the child’s life. During these years, a child will feel a closer attachment to one’s mother. This response is natural; much like the rest of the class Mammalia. The mother is the source of nutrients, warmth, and comfort; everything of importance to an infant. It may then seem appropriate for a judge to place the child with the mother. As the child ages, the father is likely to gain more importance. For females entering adolescence, a father figure is essential and providing an example of the way in which males should act. A father offers structure in such an uncertain period of one’s life. As for a meal entering adolescence, only a father can truly understand what the child is enduring. From the teaching of hygiene practices, relationship advice, and paternal approval, this bond will heavily affect a young man throughout his life.

Men are not given an equal chance to gain custody of their children. Every case should be approached individually as the courtroom is no place for bias. As the world approaches equality for both genders, the Canadian judicial system continues to stay behind. In order to make progress as a nation, prejudice must be eradicated. Although it may be convenient to deal with all custody cases the way in which they have been throughout history, the cycle must be broken. Such decisions should be further deliberated upon as something so life-altering should not be taken with a grain of salt.

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