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Do Child Custody Laws Favor Mothers Over Fathers?

Child custody is an essential issue that arises when parents divorce. It is important to make well-informed decisions when it comes to children. Unfortunately as family law attorneys, we sometimes encounter people who hold misconceptions about child custody law, which discourages them from fully pursuing their legal rights. One of these misconceptions involves a belief that child custody laws favor mothers over fathers. This is not the law.

Mothers Were Once Favored Under the Law

There is a long legal history in England and America that presumed that mothers should be given primary custody of their children. Known as the “tender years doctrine”, it was premised on an old belief that young children were best served by staying in the care of their mother during their childhood. In essence, unless a mother was somehow unfit, courts would give sole custody of children to mothers instead of fathers.

This is no longer the law as states across the country began to overturn tender years statutes—Nevada did so in 1979. In its place, states instead implemented a “best interest of the child” standard over a maternal preference. In fact, the Nevada Legislature has explicitly determined that “Preference must not be given to either parent for the sole reason that the parent is the mother or the father of the child.”

Best Interest Focuses on the Child

When looking at a child’s best interest, courts have incredibly broad discretion to consider the totality of a child’s circumstances and determine what is best for the child. A court can look at a wide variety of factors like a child’s wishes relative to their maturity level, a child’s emotional and physical needs, the caretaking roles of the parents before the separation, and the plans of each parent. An experienced family law attorney can make sure that a court looks well beyond outdated gender roles and looks to what is truly best for your child.

Trust Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. to Fight for You

The attorneys at Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. have over one hundred years of combined legal experience in a variety of legal areas, including family law. As a small firm, we are able to give custom-tailored legal advice and representation to our clients. If you are considering a divorce or need assistance with a child custody matter, you need to contact a lawyer. You have significant legal rights, and we want to help you. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule a consultation or contact our office through our website.

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