Child custody courts have garnered quite the reputation over time. Whether the outcomes of custody cases detriment or benefit separating and divorcing families overall depends on who you ask. For years, disgruntled fathers have aired their grievances about the court system, and have even gone as far as to form father's rights groups to combat what they claim is “anti-father” doctrine in courtrooms. Father's rights groups and their supporters are under the impression that the New Jersey court system, and the American court system as a whole, is legally biased towards mothers when it comes to child custody. But regardless of if one believes that gender bias in courtrooms exists or not, recent trends in New Jersey courts are changing, as it appears that fathers are more willing than ever to be a crucial part of their children's upbringing.
The Tender Years Doctrine
The majority of issues involving child custody and visitation were at one point mitigated using the “Tender Years Doctrine.” The doctrine proposes that during the tender years of a child's life - which is regarded as the age of four and under - he or she is best cared for by the mother, and therefore, only the mother should be allowed custody of children in these circumstances. Most states in the country have scratched this presumption due to apparent claims of bias and replaced it with the “best interest of the child” doctrine. But father's rights advocates believe that although the stereotypes of the homely, stay-at-home mother and the tireless, working father are over, the logic inspired by the Tender Years Doctrine still rears its ugly head in custody cases more often than not.
A New Trend
Experts say that with every passing year there's been a shift in perspective that has urged family courts to focus on gender neutrality. Today, studies show that neither mothers or fathers have a leg up in court merely based on gender, and it's led to resolutions that entail equal parenting time for each party.
New Jersey is considering passing a law that would make equally shared physical and legal custody of children after a divorce or separation the default standard model for child custody settlements. Such a drastic change in the New Jersey court system would definitely transform the way child custody determinations are made.
New Jersey Family Law Attorney
If you're involved in a child custody proceeding, it's important you retain legal counsel from an attorney who knows their stuff. Joseph D. Lento has helped parents from across the state score an agreement that includes their contributions, protects their parental rights, and most importantly, reflects the best interest of the child. For more information about Mr. Lento's representation, contact the Lento Law Firm today online or by phone at 888-535-3686.
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