Monday, October 12, 2009
Courts and legislatures have rejected the presumption that mothers should win custody of their young children in the case of divorce. Such a presumption, the tender years’ presumption, has been determined to be against public policy that strives to treat the genders equally, as well as in conflict the equal protection clause embedded in the fourteenth amendment. In practice, however, courts still often treat women more favorably than men in custody disputes. In the court of public opinion as well, mothers are still often viewed as victims of divorce and are therefore treated with more sympathy and favor—as Jon and Kate (of plus eight fame) seem to continually illustrate.