Do Florida Courts Favor Mothers?

An experienced Tampa child custody attorney from the Law Office of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A., can help to protect the rights of both mothers and fathers in Florida child custody proceedings.

Up until the 1950s, women were automatically expected to stay home and raise their children while fathers went out to work. This began to change in the 1960s, as feminism emboldened many women to take on additional roles outside the home. However, in child custody proceedings then and in the ensuing years, they were still generally assumed to be more nurturing and the courts were likely to favor mothers over fathers in regards to custody arrangements. Today, Florida law no longer reflects these biases, and fathers have the same rights as mothers in being included in child time sharing plans

Changing Attitudes Toward Fathers and Their Children

Watch reruns of television shows from the 1960s or even the 1970s and you will likely see fathers defined by their careers, with little aptitude for parenting other than dispensing out money, occasional advice, and the keys to the family car. It was typically mothers who addressed the child’s daily needs. These notions of parenting roles were widespread and reflected through courts in Florida and across the United States via the ‘tender years’ doctrine. This held that in child custody disputes, children under the age of 13 were better served by naming the mother as the primary custodian. The rights of the father was generally more limited and relegated to visitation on occasional weeknights and every other weekend.

Today, this doctrine has been abandoned by the courts and for good reason. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that there is an abundance of evidence to show that fathers are just as capable of providing the same type of nurturing as mothers. Due to changing societal attitudes and workplace policies, they are also now better able to take time away from their jobs to provide for their children’s practical needs.

Changes in the Court’s Attitudes Toward Fathers

In acknowledgement of the changing roles and attitudes towards fathers, state laws in regards to the rights to child custody have changed, as well. Under the Florida Statutes, mothers are no longer favored and automatically named as primary custodian. Instead, both parents are encouraged to play an active and engaged role in the child’s life through the use of child time sharing arrangements. Rather than relying on gender, the court considers the following factors in implementing joint parenting plans:

  • The child’s current and prior relationship with each parent;
  • Each parent’s individual ability to meet the child’s needs;
  • Any special needs or requirements the child may have;
  • The parent’s ability to work together in implementing a parenting plan.

Consult with Our Tampa Child Custody Attorney

At the Law Offices of Mark G. Rodriguez, P.A., we help to protect the rights of both mothers and fathers in creating parenting plans in Florida. To request a consultation, call or contact our Tampa child custody attorney online today.