Likely the most difficult and emotional part of divorce or family law proceedings is when there are children involved. Child custody proceedings are never an easy thing to deal with. Since this is something that most people simply aren't too familiar with, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions. Here's a look at two of the most common myths and the real truth behind them.
Myth #1: Mothers Are Usually Preferred Over Fathers
If there's one bit of information that most people believe to be true about a child custody case, it's that the mother is almost always chosen over the father. For years, this actually was the case though, and with legal precedent. A legal doctrine called the "tender years doctrine" said that in a child's "tender years" (under the age of 4), the mother should always have custody except for extreme circumstances. The belief was, a father just couldn't nurture the child like the mother could. This doctrine gained prominence in the late 19th century, but fell out of practice towards the end of the 20th century. In fact, several courts ruled that this doctrine violates the 14th Amendment. Virtually every court now makes it a priority to consider a child's best interests, regardless of which parent is chosen.
Myth #2: In A Separation, The Parent That Has The Child First Will Keep Them
It's a common thought that in a custody case, the parent that has the child before the proceedings eventually wins. If two parents are separated, and a child has been living with one for some time, maintaining the "status quo" is a part of a custody decision, but it's far from the deciding factor. The only time this could potentially be true is if it can be proven that one parent intentionally didn't spend time with a child. If this myth were true, one parent could prevent the other one from seeing the child, and the win the custody case because it's the "normal."
With child custody cases today, being prepared is a vital part of presenting your case. No longer is it an issue of "the mother always wins" or "whoever the child is with now always wins." Since preparation is so crucial, having a good lawyer on your side is more important than ever. A child custody lawyer has likely dealt with hundreds of cases similar to yours, and knows exactly how to handle things. A good lawyer can mean the difference in properly presenting and eventually winning your case.
For more information, contact an experienced lawyer from a firm like Knochel Law Offices.