3 Fantastic Ways Same Sex Marriages Are Helping to Reduce Gender Bias in Family Courts
Historically, people have long held the belief that men are disadvantaged in divorce court, and perhaps there is some truth to the rumors. According to National Parents Organization in 2015, there is a crisis of judicial bias against men in family courts. There are some reasons for this.
First, men were traditionally the primary breadwinners, meaning they worked outside the home, leaving women to raise the children. This was the reasoning behind many states using laws known as “tender years doctrines.” This theory held that children in their earlier years were best served by being raised by a mother. To this day, although all 50 states have abolished these laws as unconstitutional, courts look at which parent has had the most time with the child. In many cases, this remains the mother. But what happens in a same sex marriage, where the distinction is not based on gender? Where does that implicit judicial bias go? Well, there are 3 interesting and fantastic ways that same sex marriages have begun changing the way courts look at custody.
#1 Gender is Not as Much a Differentiation
Even before same sex marriage was legalized nationally, research showed that LGBT spouses who came out before or during a custody dispute with a heterosexual spouse often lost custody of their children. This seemed to defy traditional gender biases, meaning heterosexual men would get custody over lesbian women, even in scenarios where traditionally the court would have sided with the female in the same equation. While this is tragic and often very unfair, it underscores another underlying change – gender is not as much of a differentiation as it once was.
Post-legalization of gay marriage, we are seeing a tide of change, where courts are now facing same sex divorces, where two men or two women are fighting for custody of a child. It will be interesting to see exactly how traditional notions of gender bias play out. Will courts tend to side with the parent who spends the most time with a child? Will courts begin to focus on earnings or overall fitness? For attorneys who routinely handle divorce cases, it will be interesting in the next decade to see how the court system deals with custody once gender is removed as an equation.
#2 Laws Are Being Re-Written to Remove Prejudice
While there are certainly plenty of improvements that need to be made, the fact is laws are changing every day around the country. With same sex marriage being legal in all 50 states, it seems almost every day a law is being struck down as unconstitutional or in conflict with the legalization of same sex marriage. In many ways, this helps all people, because usually these laws were created years ago and are based on antiquated values and ideals that no longer serve the interests of equality.
#3 Adoptions and Parenthood are Open to More Parents
With the legalization of same sex marriages in Obergefell v. Hodges, other areas of the law began to open up to LGBT members of the community, as well. For instance, Maryland’s Supreme Court has now upheld the right of parents without a biological tie to maintain custody and visitation of a child. This right, along with laws that prevent adoption agencies from discriminating based on LGBT status, go a long way to ensuring more children in need of a home are given the chance to be raised by loving parents.
Experience Counts When Everything is On the Line
When it matters most, trust the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. in Maryland to fight for you and your family. Whether you’re fighting for custody of the most important person in your life – your child – or you are fighting to protect your retirement and hard-earned assets in a bitter divorce, you can count on our team to put you and your case at the center. Call today to schedule a private and personalized consultation today.