C YNTHIA A. M C N Eely [**]http://www.law.fsu.edu/journals/lawreview/frames/254/mcnefram.html
I. I NTRODUCCIÓN
II. E L D ESARROLLO DE Estereotipos A MERICANA G Ender S COMO PARA PPLIED Other M adre-F R OLES
A. De la América colonial a la Guerra Civil
B. La Revolución Industrial
C. Los años 1920 y 1970
D. Los años 1970 y 1990
III. E L E R ND ESULTADO: Estereotipos C ultural G Ender S Y OTROS M adre-F R OLES ODAY T
A. Lenore Weitzman y el "Estudio de un 73%"
B. El Estudio Corte Suprema de Massachusetts de Género Bias del sistema judicial de Massachusetts
C. La discriminación contra los padres como los hombres
D. La protección del "sexo débil": El Estado como al hombre perfecto
E. La Corte y la Asamblea Legislativa: La batalla por el control Consideraciones Custodia
F. Cuando los padres son marginados
IV. E L A F OURTEENTH NMIENDA
A. La cláusula de igual protección y discriminación de género
1. intención de discriminar se requiere
B. Sustantivo del Debido Proceso: La interferencia con los derechos fundamentales
1. Relación entre Padre e Hijo como un Derecho Fundamental
C. Debido Proceso Procesal requiere una audiencia fundamentalmente justos
V. TATUTE C FLORIDA HILD C USTODY S
VI. E L A F OURTEENTH NMIENDA Y C HILD C USTODY
A. Desafíos de divorciarse o anteriormente casadas Padres
B. Desafíos De padres solteros
1. Igualdad ante la Ley Desafíos en General
2. Retos a los Estatutos aparentemente discriminatorias
VII. HALLENGING G C B ENDER NIC en C USTODIAL D ECISIONES
A. Llevar un reto igual protección
B. Llevar un desafío debido proceso sustantivo
C. Audiencias Desafiando fundamentalmente injusto
VIII. R ECOMENDACIONES
A. End "discriminación selectiva"
B. Aplicar "Courtwatch" Programas de examinar empíricamente disputados decisiones de custodia
C. Implementar una presunción legal a favor de la custodia compartida física o Giro
D. Exigir a los jueces emitir las conclusiones específicas de hecho al determinar la custodia
E. Requerir Secretarios de los Tribunales de Circuito para registrar qué padre recibe la custodia residencial primaria
F. revisan las directrices de manutención infantil
G. Implementar paridad real en el lugar de trabajo
IX. C ONCLUSIÓN
"Cuando por nacimiento de un niño es objeto de un padre que es para el interés general de los niños y realmente para el interés del niño en particular que la Corte no debe, salvo en casos extremos interferir con la discreción del padre, pero dejan a él la responsabilidad por el ejercicio de ese poder que la naturaleza ha dado por el nacimiento del niño ". 
En distintos casos de Broward, un padre incumplidor fue encontrado escondido detrás de una cortina de ducha, y otro en un armario del dormitorio.
En Daytona Beach, un helicóptero y perros policía ayudó a localizar a un padre que había huido a bosque detrás de su casa cuando las autoridades llegaron. En Pensacola, un padre incumplidor escaparon a las autoridades en su puerta, sólo para ser capturado en la oficina del fiscal estatal como él estaba tratando de defender su forma de pago.
"Le hemos estancado hasta que los diputados llegaron a arrestarlo", dijo [el Departamento de Rentas de Florida portavoz]. "Incluso trató de escapar mientras era llevado a cabo.". . .
"La diferencia con este resumen es que fue todo el estado, y sólo el primero de lo que va a haber muchas Florida esfuerzos de todo," [el portavoz] dijo. 
I. I NTRODUCCIÓN
Visión de la sociedad de los padres ha cambiado radicalmente desde los días en que los tribunales rara vez se interponía entre la relación padre-hijo. La transformación se remonta a varias fuentes, lo más notablemente posible la Revolución Industrial, que requerían a los padres a retirar su mano de obra de la casa a una instalación remota.  Las madres, consideradas como físicamente más débil y temperamento, se consideraron incapaces de adaptarse a las rigurosas demandas del lugar de trabajo y fueron acusados singularmente con la gestión de la esfera doméstica.  La feminización de la retaguardia resultó en madres reemplazan los padres como los "cuidadores principales e insustituibles" en tanto "la ley y la costumbre," efectivamente conducen a una pérdida "progresiva de la sustancia de la autoridad del padre y de una disminución de su poder en la familia y más la familia ".  Las imágenes estereotipadas de los padres como sostén familiar y madres como cuidadoras primarias nacionales y childrearers nacieron. 
Con el resurgimiento del feminismo en la década de 1970,  muchas mujeres se dieron cuenta de que necesitaba a un hombre tanto como "un pez necesita una bicicleta".  Justificadamente, la relación hombre-mujer fue hace mucho tiempo para una reconfiguración. Sin embargo, en la búsqueda por romper las cadenas que las mujeres comúnmente restringidas en el matrimonio, las mujeres, el Estado y la sociedad pasa por alto la realidad de que los niños necesitaban-y todavía necesita el amor y apoyo de sus padres tanto como un pez necesita el agua .  Sólo recientemente hemos comenzado a comprender que los niños sufren graves consecuencias negativas cuando los padres están marginados. 
A pesar de los esfuerzos continuos de los movimientos feministas y de derechos de padres a modificar estas imágenes estereotipadas, todavía persisten hoy en día.  En ninguna esfera mayor tienen estos roles de género obsoletos persisten en el sistema de nuestro país tribunales de familia.  Allí, el estado con frecuencia no sólo niega la capacidad y el deseo de muchos hombres a que participen activamente y de manera significativa en el cuidado de sus hijos,  pero también perpetúa la subyugación de las mujeres como madres por considerarlas débiles e incapaces de sobrevivir sin el apoyo de un hombre.  Este estado instituyó paternalization romántico de las madres, junto con la vista estrecha de la función de los padres, es en gran parte responsable de la destrucción total de la post-divorcio, padre e hijo.  En consecuencia, el Estado crea aumentado los trastornos psicológicos, educativos, de comportamiento y de salud para los niños y la delincuencia y la violencia en la sociedad. 
Paradójicamente, la sociedad mantiene su insistencia en que quiere promover la independencia de las mujeres mediante el establecimiento de liberarlos de las limitaciones de un mal matrimonio sancionada por el Estado a través de la disolución del matrimonio,  mientras que al mismo tiempo operar un sistema que espera, permisos, y mantiene el papel anticuado de las mujeres como el sexo débil y dependiente, los principales responsables de los cuidaos e incapaz de auto-suficiencia económica. 
Tratamiento del estado de los padres divorciados se ha convertido en una profecía autocumplida. Al enviar un mensaje claro a los padres divorciados que no son esenciales para la educación de los niños más allá de suministrar un porcentaje de su sueldo a la madre de sus hijos, y tal vez un par de horas a la semana de "visitas" con sus hijos, el estado ha animado a los padres divorciados que abandonar verdadera paternidad.  Sin embargo, la sociedad mira con desdén y desconcierto cuando los padres divorciados desaparecer de una relación significativa con sus hijos.  Nadie debería sorprenderse de que la situación se ha reducido a arrinconar algunos padres no privativas de libertad detrás de las cortinas de ducha y perseguir con perros de policía y helicópteros. 
Parte II de este comentario remonta el origen de los estereotipos de género y su incorporación en el derecho de familia. Parte III discute estudios recientes utilizados para argumentar que los tribunales no favorecen a las madres sobre los padres para decidir la custodia del niño. También se examina la situación de género y los estereotipos culturales del estado de colocación continua mayoría de los niños con madres en la adjudicación de la custodia residencial primaria, a menudo a pesar de las leyes que requieren específicamente la misma consideración de ambos padres al realizar las determinaciones de custodia. Parte IV se presenta un panorama general de la Decimocuarta Enmienda, especialmente respecto a las relaciones entre padres e hijos, y el estatuto Parte V opiniones de Florida custodia de los hijos. Parte VI casos entablados por los padres que afirman violaciónes de la Decimocuarta Enmienda. Parte VII discute los retos para la práctica de la mayor parte adjudicar las madres la custodia principal residencial de los niños, y si la práctica viola el derecho constitucional de un padre a la misma consideración que el custodio primario residencial, su derecho igualmente fundamental para criar a sus hijos, y su derecho protegido a un fundamentalmente audiencia imparcial. Parte VIII recomienda soluciones para proporcionar verdaderamente en el interés superior de los niños en el estado post-divorcio por rectificar el trato desigual de los padres ante el tribunal de la familia, y de las madres en el lugar de trabajo. Este comentario llega a la conclusión de que en el mejor interés de los niños, los tribunales deben tener en cuenta realmente los dos padres por igual al realizar las determinaciones de custodia, y deben tratar de maximizar la participación activa y sustancial de ambos padres cabe en la vida de sus hijos.
II. E L D ESARROLLO DE Estereotipos A MERICANA G Ender S COMO PARA PPLIED Other M adre-F R OLES
Los hombres, más que las mujeres, están hechos a la cultura. Paternidad, en particular, es. . . una "idea metafísica", una improvisación imperfecto cultural diseñado para no expresar la masculinidad, sino para socializar. Se deriva menos de la encarnación sexual que de un imperativo social: la necesidad de obligar a los hombres a su descendencia. Por lo tanto, las ideas acerca de la masculinidad y la paternidad son inextricablemente arraigados en las funciones sociales. 
A. Desde la América colonial a la Guerra Civil
La sociedad estadounidense de reciente formación importado prácticas inglesas sobre el matrimonio y los hijos, padres dando un "derecho absoluto a la custodia".  Como parte del contrato de matrimonio, las mujeres eran consideradas legalmente la propiedad de los hombres.  "Como Blackstone dijo, cuando un hombre y una mujer casada que adquirieron una" unidad de la persona. Esta "unidad" fue interpretada para proporcionar el marido con amplios derechos a los bienes de la esposa, y negar a la mujer casada la facultad de contratar o participar en litigio ".  A cambio de negar a las mujeres los derechos personales, las mujeres se les proporcionó "protección masculina" y el apoyo financiero. 
La sociedad americana patriarcal reflejaba la práctica Inglés de designar el padre como protector natural de los niños, porque tenía la capacidad de proporcionar por su apoyo financiero.  Las mujeres eran vistas como incapaces de manejar los asuntos legales o financieros y se creía que carecen de la sofisticación necesaria y la habilidad con la que los escolares adecuadamente en las cuestiones prácticas y mundanas.  Los tribunales norteamericanos adoptaron estas percepciones;. Así, en el caso de divorcio raro, los padres se concedió la custodia de los niños  Los tribunales, en un momento en que la cultura era agraria y niños trabajaban en los campos, confirmó esta acción al considerar que la ayuda financiera del padre de sus hijos le daba derecho a los beneficios de su trabajo.  Así, en la circunstancia extremadamente rara de que un padre no recibió custodia, no estaba obligado a apoyar financieramente a sus hijos debido a que no se beneficiarían de su trabajo. 
Por los mediados de 1800, la sociedad comenzó a percibir los niños que necesitan especial consideración y tratamiento.  En desarrollo de esta percepción, el Congreso implementó la Ley Talfourd de 1839  para legislar la presunción de que los tribunales deben otorgar la custodia de los niños menores de siete años para la madre.  Esta presunción se hizo conocido como el "tiernos años de doctrina", que legalizó por primera vez la creencia de que las madres eran más adecuados para criar a sus hijos que los padres.  Los tribunales interpretaron la Ley Talfourd ser una guía temporal, y muchos niños fueron devueltos a la custodia de su padre una vez que llegaron a la edad de cuatro o cinco años.  La Ley Talfourd, y la creencia de que los padres en última instancia debe tener la custodia de sus hijos, se impuso en los tribunales de familia a lo largo de mediados de 1800.
A finales de 1800, el padre comenzó a trabajar en masa fuera de la casa en las fábricas y plantas de la Revolución Industrial.  Este cambio sin precedentes y significativo facilitó una expectativa de cambio cultural de la función de los padres. El desarrollo de derecho de familia hicieron lo mismo.
B. La Revolución Industrial
Post-Guerra Civil América marcó el comienzo de la era de la Revolución Industrial y mostró la puerta de la cultura agraria. Debido a los padres por lo general siempre único ingreso de la familia a través de su trabajo fuera de la casa, esta ausencia avanzado de los padres "larga marcha desde el centro hasta la periferia de la vida nacional". 
Al mismo tiempo, las madres fueron acusados del papel de los cuidadores principales del niño y gerentes de origen en gran parte a causa de su exclusión cultural y jurídica desde el lugar de trabajo.  Aunque la maternidad sociedad sentimental, la tarea era ardua, sin embargo, ya que "[m] otros llevaban el peso de esta tarea agotadora. Este proyecto les obligaba a" mantener una constante vigilancia moral sobre su descendencia, desde la infancia hasta ese momento crítico, cuando en la edad adulta temprana , salieron de la casa de sus padres. Por otra parte, la satisfacción materna en la empresa no era parte del cálculo ".  Ministros, políticos, periodistas, y la cultura popular advirtió madres de las consecuencias de no poner a los niños primero: "El cuidado de los niños exige grandes sacrificios muchos, y una gran cantidad de auto-negación, pero la mujer que no está dispuesto a sacrificar una buena oferta en una causa, no merece ser madre ".  Por lo tanto, la madre fue visto como "[l] pagarés, inferior, subordinadas, y confinado a la casa .... Los términos del papel de la mujer en la familia industrial nueva ética elevada matrimonio, la maternidad, cuidado del hogar, y la supervisión de la vida familiar a nuevas alturas ideológicas ". 
Los expertos creen que, si bien no hay razón absoluta puede ser señalado como la causa del cambio hacia una preferencia indeleble para la madre la custodia, la Revolución Industrial ocupado un lugar destacado en esta transformación.  Exigir a los padres a trabajar fuera de la casa aseguró la disminución de su papel en la familia. A medida que la unidad de la familia experimentó la separación física, como nunca antes, el papel de los padres como protectores y guías para sus hijos comenzaron a disminuir.  Este cambio cultural, junto con décadas de la doctrina tierna años, dio lugar a una extensión hacia arriba de la era de la "tierna edad".  Con el tiempo, "se convirtió en la presunción tiernos años-la justificación de la concesión de la custodia de los niños de todas las edades a la madre en forma permanente". 
De finales del siglo XIX y principios ", balanceó el péndulo legal lejos de los padres" en los casos de custodia.  Por otra parte, una reverencia cultural para la maternidad comenzó a colarse en las opiniones judiciales en disputas de custodia infantil. El Washington Supremo Tribunal de Justicia en 1916:
El amor de madre es un rasgo dominante, incluso en la más débil de las mujeres, y como cosa general supera el afecto paternal para la descendencia común, y por otra parte, un niño necesita cuidado de una madre, incluso más que el de un padre. Por estas razones, los tribunales son reacios a privar a la madre de la custodia de sus hijos, y no lo hará a menos que se demuestre claramente que es hasta el momento una persona que no e impropio que se les confía la custodia, como para poner en peligro el bienestar de la los niños. 
En 1918, el Tribunal Supremo de Dakota del Norte encontró la maternidad para ser "los lazos más sagrados de la naturaleza" y se negó a romper esos lazos mediante la concesión de un padre la custodia sólo en "casos extremos". 
Un juez disidente del Tribunal Supremo de Mississippi quedó tan sorprendido por el premio, ahora inusual de la custodia al padre que él escribió:
El amor de la madre natural de una madre por su hijo es tal, en mi opinión, que ninguna otra persona en el mundo puede administrar con el cuidado y bienestar de su hijo lo mismo que ella puede y lo haría. No es peculiarmente hay límite para el amor y el cariño de una madre por su hijo, y creo que, a pesar de que estar en desventaja con las debilidades humanas, la pobreza y la atención y protección de la descendencia de ella, naturalmente, es más eficiente que el de cualquier otra persona que podría ser más afortunadamente situados y dotados. Es duro y cruel separar a la fuerza a una madre de su hijo, y no se debe hacer, a mi juicio, salvo en determinados casos, donde no puede haber ninguna duda razonable de que el bienestar del niño requiere dicha separación. 
Tales sentimientos fuertes socialmente creados convencido a muchos padres a renunciar a los retos de custodia.  Por otra parte, la creación de leyes de trabajo infantil siempre un desincentivo para algunos padres a solicitar la custodia porque los niños no podrían proporcionar ingresos a su padre para compensar los costos de crianza de los niños. 
Así, en unas pocas generaciones, pero e impulsado en gran medida por las determinaciones culturales y económicas de los papeles masculino y femenino, la custodia de los niños estadounidenses cuando sus padres se divorciaron cambió de decisiones basadas en realidades económicas opresivas a los basados en mitologías sociales opresivas. Mientras Estados Unidos se continuó en el siglo XX, la reverencia por la maternidad a través de la paternidad se profundizó.
C. Las décadas de 1920 y 1970
Junto con una modificación fundamental de la estructura económica y el consiguiente cambio en la ubicación donde los padres realizaron su trabajo, la Era Industrial marcó el comienzo de una transformación integral de la manera madres y padres veían a sí mismos, y cómo la sociedad los consideraba. Antes de la era industrial, los hombres recibieron principalmente de auto-validación a través de la crianza exitosa de los niños calificados moralmente de sonido.  La transición a la no agraria trabajo alentó a los hombres a buscar validación externa para confirmar su masculinidad.  En la década de 1920, la ambición económica y el logro profesional reemplazado paternidad eficaz como los baremos adecuados con los que medir un buen padre.  En consecuencia, los padres trabajaban en lugares remotos no sólo para mantener a sus familias, sino para la validación social como buenos padres.  ¡Ay del padre que era incapaz de apoyar económicamente a su familia, porque se consideraría un fracaso no sólo como padre, sino como un hombre.  Mientras que la sociedad permita padres independencia económica, se aseguró de que los tribunales de divorcio estereotipada vistos como padres carecen de capacidad e interés en criar a los hijos activamente, con lo que los hombres de discapacidad en las consideraciones de custodia y la privación de relaciones significativas con sus padres. 
Mientras que los hombres fueron programados para equiparar su productividad económica externa con su masculinidad y su valor como padres, las mujeres de clase media fueron programados por la sociedad para aceptar papeles subordinados y, a ser vistos como buenas madres, para quedarse en casa para cuidar a sus hijos. [59 ] Dedicar la propia vida a la crianza de los niños aseguró validación social externo y, posteriormente, la confirmación personal femenino de la propia identidad.  En consecuencia, si bien las mujeres se les negaba la independencia económica de la fuerza de trabajo, se celebrará una mayor influencia en las decisiones de custodia,  dando lugar a ayudas económicas en forma de pensión alimenticia para asegurar que se quedaron fuera de la arena empleo. Si bien la paternidad efectiva dejado de ser un indicador de la validez de la propia masculinidad, maternidad eficaz continuó sirviendo como el estándar por el cual se midió un valor de una mujer.  ¡Ay de la madre que no eligió desinteresada y altruista colocar a sus hijos por encima de todo, porque se consideraría un fracaso como madre y como mujer. 
Estos roles socialmente impuestas aseguró la subyugación económica continua de mujeres exigiendo su dependencia de los hombres por la supervivencia económica, tras el divorcio en forma de pensión alimenticia y el niño, como la etiqueta social exige que las madres trabajan.  Tribunales promovido estereotipo establecido de la sociedad de las mujeres que trabajaban como débiles y necesitados de Estado instituyó la protección de la legislación laboral manteniendo diseñado para restringir las mujeres trabajen más allá de una cierta cantidad de horas, con frecuencia en industrias consideradas insalubres a sus constituciones supuestas suaves, o trabajar en determinados puestos de trabajo.  En las decisiones de custodia, los tribunales siguió promoviendo la imagen de la madre como venerado y digno de protección sentimental. A las madres se llama "institución de Dios para la crianza y educación del niño".  Un tribunal de vigas:
[E] n su deber solo es absorbida en el deseo, en ella solo se servicios, expresadas en términos de amor. Sólo ella tiene la paciencia y la simpatía necesaria para moldear y calmar la mente del niño en su adaptación a su entorno. La diferencia entre la paternidad y la maternidad en este sentido es fundamental. . . . 
Un tribunal llegó tan lejos como para poetizar la relación madre-hijo señalando que "[n] o es más que una zona de penumbra entre el amor de una madre y la atmósfera del cielo". 
Mediante la implementación de los ideales estereotipados de la mujer en sus decisiones, los tribunales promovido "paternalismo romántico"  y la "maternidad mística".  En consecuencia, por la década de 1920, la madre de custodia preferencia estaba firmemente arraigado en el sistema de tribunales de familia. 
En cumplimiento de estos ideales, los estudios psicológicos que supuestamente se llevaron a cabo legitimado el papel especial de la madre en las decisiones de custodia.  El papel del padre no fue igualmente examinado, por lo que la definición de la paternidad se hizo difusa e indeterminada.  Con una mayor atención se centró en el papel estereotipado de las madres, y menos atención en los padres, los padres se hizo aún más importante y culturalmente relegados a un papel insignificante y secundario en la unidad familiar. 
Con el tiempo, la doctrina tierna años fue reemplazado por el "interés superior del niño".  Esta norma pretendía enfocar la atención de los atributos de género de los padres y hacia la situación de custodia considera mejor para el niño. En la práctica, sin embargo, hubo poca diferencia en las dos normas debido a las expectativas relativamente bajas con respecto al papel de los padres en la crianza de los niños y las mitologías que rodean casi fanáticas papel de la mujer en el cuidado infantil. Este resultado no debería haber sido una sorpresa: una prueba se centra en las "mejores" a los intereses del niño es una prueba subjetiva en sí misma que, naturalmente, se incluyen, tanto consciente como inconscientemente, la comprensión de un juez de la determinación de la cultura contemporánea de la "mejor".  Por ejemplo, al tiempo que afirmaba que el "bienestar de los hijos constituirá la consideración de control" en litigio por la custodia, la Corte Suprema de Florida en 1945 sostuvo que "[o] rdinarily, en el caso de los niños de corta edad tal bienestar no se promueve mejor. .. llevándolos a la madre, a menos que se demuestre que ella no es una persona idónea para tenerlos ".  Por lo tanto, el "interés superior de los niños", continuó estándar que asumir que era lo mejor para los niños permanezcan con sus madres en caso de divorcio.
Otra perversión cultural de la mejor norma intereses surgió de la "todas las cosas en igualdad de condiciones" estándar. Los tribunales se enfrentan con los padres igualmente calificados y amoroso continuó aplicando con firmeza la mística de la maternidad a las decisiones de custodia. Por ejemplo, mientras que da servicio de labios a los mejores intereses de los niños, la Corte Suprema de Alabama en 1930 concluyó: "ceteris paribus, este tribunal tiene numerosos antecedentes por la madre de los niños de corta edad mejor equipados para otorgar el afecto maternal, cuidado, compañerismo y formación inicial adecuada a sus necesidades ". 
Irónicamente, mientras que los tribunales devaluó la importancia de los padres en caso de divorcio o posterior a la devaluación cultural de ellos, algunas políticas sociales reconocieron la importancia crítica de los padres. En los primeros años de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, por ejemplo, los padres eran los últimos en ser reclutados para el servicio militar.  Por otra parte, los primeros programas de televisión interpretó al padre como-además de salir de la casa durante el día, omnisciente.  Una esquizofrenia cultural de la paternidad desarrollado: padres casados eran venerados a pesar de que eran en su mayoría ausentes y desacoplada de crianza de los hijos mientras significativo apoyo financiero a la familia, los padres solteros, sin embargo, fueron positivamente desechable.  Ese estereotipo invadido el sistema de tribunales de familia, y continúa en la actualidad.
D. Los años 1970 y 1990
La fase de 1970 el movimiento de mujeres en general se le atribuye haber introducido los ideales feministas a la vanguardia de la cultura estadounidense.  Dado que las mujeres aumentaron su conciencia de las cuestiones feministas, el cambio en los roles de madre acompañante tradicionales obligado a muchos padres a reevaluar sus posiciones dentro de la familia. Muchas mujeres decidieron que preferirían trabajar fuera del hogar que realizan trabajo doméstico que los obligó a depender económicamente de sus maridos.  Al mismo tiempo, muchas mujeres se vieron obligadas al lugar de trabajo debido a un cambio en la economía del hogar causados por "el colapso de la capacidad de los padres para mantener a sus familias únicamente de sus ingresos".  Cuando las mujeres comenzaron a liberarse de los estereotipos, secundario y dependiente dentro de la estructura económica de la familia, ya sea debido a la economía familiar o el feminismo  -Hombres cada vez más se vieron judicialmente "liberado" de la familia como mujeres buscaron el divorcio en cifras récord.  Este aumento en el divorcio promovido la marginación de los padres de manera mucho más amplia que la Revolución Industrial porque el divorcio literalmente cortó el padre de la casa de forma permanente. Muchos padres se han resignado a continuar su rol principalmente como proveedores de servicios financieros para sus hijos y sus esposas, ahora ex, y se ajustan a ver a sus hijos aproximadamente cuatro días al mes. 
Ante la constatación de que era muy difícil de equilibrar el trabajo con la crianza de los hijos, algunas madres siguen casadas exigió que los padres compartan más sustantivamente en el cuidado infantil.  La Organización Nacional de Mujeres (NOW) emitió un comunicado de prensa que decía cuidado infantil no era singularmente la responsabilidad derivada de la maternidad.  Sin embargo, este llamado a compartir la responsabilidad de los padres no siempre son los padres divorciados, según un estudio nacional indica que el 40% de las madres la custodia admitió que se había negado a permitir a los padres a ejercer la visita como una medida punitiva, mientras que el 20% cree que los padres deben ser totalmente cortado de la vida de sus hijos y trató de lograr tal fin.  Rara vez los tribunales intervenir para hacer cumplir las visitas. 
Debido a que fueron extirpados de su papel como sostén de la familia y los "jefes de familia", muchos padres se ven obligados a buscar una redefinición de la propia identidad. Padres luchado para entender el mensaje social que se percibe aún como proveedores aún sin la familia a tiempo completo y los beneficios que conlleva. Frustrado y confundido por el descenso a un estado de existencia-más aún por definir, algunos padres divorciados lugar optó por cortar todo contacto con sus hijos en lugar de lidiar con el dolor de ser separados de ellos.  Como las mujeres antes que ellos, algunos grupos de apoyo formados para hacer frente a la amargura y la ira, y para analizar los mensajes mixtos culturales de lo que sus propios roles iban a ser.  Muchos decidieron que los roles tradicionales de padre enseñó a ellos por sus padres ya no eran válidas en una era de divorcio rampante. Algunos se dio cuenta de que la sociedad, en particular los tribunales de divorcio, sin embargo, obligado a permanecer en el papel anticuado como distantes cuidadores financieros, y empezaron a cuestionar y confrontar este sesgo de género.
III. E L E R ND ESULTADO: Estereotipos C ultural G Ender S Y OTROS M adre-F R OLES ODAY T
A medida que el siglo XX llega a la conclusión, este país parece más cerca de resolver los problemas de custodia de los hijos libres de un sesgo de género que lo hizo en los días de los años 1800 cuando los padres reciben automáticamente la custodia. A pesar de más de 150 años de evidencia de que las decisiones de custodia se han basado en gran medida en que prevalece roles sociales y culturales y los mandatos para los hombres y las mujeres, custodia de los hijos en los Estados Unidos hoy en día se sigue decidido con los labios sólo a las necesidades holísticas de los niños. Lamentablemente, el debate custodia de los hijos se ve obstaculizada por una segunda capa de sesgo de género: sesgo de género, los resultados de estudios prospectivos. En vez de contribuir al debate sobre la mejor manera de proporcionar a los niños de padres divorciados o padres que nunca se casaron, estos estudios tratan de preservar el status quo al negar la existencia de sesgos de género en el primer lugar o la búsqueda de que el sesgo de género en los tribunales de familia es un únicamente dilema hembra.
A. Lenore Weitzman y el "Estudio de un 73%"
El ejemplo clásico de este tipo de estudio es el trabajo ahora desacreditada de sociólogo Lenore Weitzman.  En 1985, Weitzman, informó que las mujeres sufrieron una caída del 73% en su nivel de vida después del divorcio, mientras que los hombres experimentaron un aumento del 42% en la de ellos.  Sus hallazgos fueron pregonado en los medios de comunicación y diversas publicaciones como prueba de que las leyes de divorcio en realidad hombres favorecidos y que las protecciones más económicas tenían que ser administradas a mujeres en divorcio.  El problema era que los números Weitzman eran deplorablemente imprecisa, una conclusión compartida por investigadores independientes, investigadores feministas, y, con el tiempo, incluso a sí misma Weitzman.
Por ejemplo, tal como se relata en escritora feminista Susan Faludi, Weitzman pretendía basar su estudio en una metodología propuesta por Saúl Hoffman, economista de la Universidad de Delaware, y Greg Duncan, un científico social.  Al conocer de las reclamaciones Weitzman, Hoffman y Duncan trató de comunicarse con ella para discutir las discrepancias en sus propios hallazgos que, utilizando la misma metodología, después del divorcio las mujeres sufrieron una disminución mucho menor y temporal en el nivel de vida del 30%. [98 ] Los dos también encontraron que las mujeres divorciadas normas de vida en realidad aumentó un plazo de cinco años a una cifra superior a la obtenida durante el matrimonio a sus ex maridos.  Después de esquivar Hoffman y Duncan durante más de cuatro años, finalmente Weitzman suministrado sus datos con ellos, pero los datos eran desorganizados y inapelable. 
En consecuencia, Hoffman y Duncan corrió los datos suministrados por Weitzman en su libro, y todavía recibió una cifra más cercana a su número mucho menor.  Cuando se publicaron sus hallazgos demuestran que las cifras Weitzman eran "casi con toda seguridad en el error", "sospechosamente grande", e inconsistente con su propia información, esta noticia fue reportada apenas por los medios de comunicación en todos.  Incluso en fecha tan tardía como 1996, a pesar de refutación del estudio, las cifras erróneas seguían siendo incorporadas en las políticas públicas. 
Oficina del Censo de los EE.UU. confirmó más tarde en un estudio que el 73% número de Weitzman se equivocó e inconsistente con su propia información.  Finalmente, Weitzman misma reconoció su estudio era errónea. 
Sin embargo, el daño ya estaba hecho. Muchos políticos y los jueces no pudieron reconocer el claro error del trabajo de Weitzman y conclusiones; este fracaso, en retrospectiva, tiene sentido: su estudio les dijo lo que querían oír. Confirmó el prejuicio cultural prevaleciente de que las mujeres son el "sexo débil" y, en consecuencia, en la necesidad de la intervención del gobierno paternalista y protección. También confirmó el sesgo cultural prevaleciente de que los hombres no necesitaban esa protección. Esta actitud, demostrado aquí en consideraciones económicas, también prevalece en las consideraciones de custodia. Un estudio de 1989 llevado a cabo por la Corte Suprema de Massachusetts, que incorporó algunas de las conclusiones Weitzman, es un buen ejemplo.
B. El Estudio Corte Suprema de Massachusetts de Género Bias del sistema judicial de Massachusetts
Although allegedly implemented "to determine the extent, nature, and consequences of gender bias in the judiciary and to make remedial recommendations to promote the fair and equal treatment of men and women,"  the 1989 Gender Bias Study of the Court System in Massachusetts is a prime example of a results-oriented study ironically reeking of gender bias.  Despite evidence demonstrating that mothers receive primary residential custody of children approximately 90% of the time that custody is first determined by the court,  this study offered the following remarkable conclusion to demonstrate that gender bias against fathers in child custody determinations was a myth, unworthy of further study or policy changes: "[F]athers who actively seek custody obtain either primary or joint physical custody over 70% of the time."  This conclusion is often cited to discredit continuing claims by fathers and fathers' rights organizations of gender bias in child custody matters.  An analysis of the methodology underlying this conclusion, however, demonstrates fundamental flaws that seem to confirm a results-oriented analysis. 
First, the study=s methodology in the area of child custody was entirely subjective; that is, it was based on interviews rather than hard data from court files.  Second, the study dodged the hard questions of gender bias it purported to address. Por ejemplo:
In most cases, mothers get primary physical custody of children following divorce. In general, this pattern does not reflect judicial gender bias, but the agreement of the parties and the fact that in most families mothers have been the primary caretakers of children. In some cases, however, perceptions of gender bias may discourage fathers from seeking custody, and stereotypes about fathers may affect case outcomes. Clearly the study missed an opportunity to explore whether out-of-court gender bias led to situations in which mothers were predominantly the primary caretakers, the stated basis for mothers' success in court.  It did not look at the forces at play underlying "the agreement of the parties" regarding custody.  Most problematic, however, was its total absence of follow up on the speculation of how gender bias discouraged fathers from seeking custody and how stereotypes about fathers affected outcomes. Thus, ignoring these potential gender biases against fathers allowed the study to conclude that "fathers who actively seek custody obtain either primary or joint physical custody over 70% of the time."  However, based on its own data and not ignoring potential gender bias against fathers, the study could also have trumpeted any of the following results, leading to far different conclusions:
Mothers get primary residential custody 93.4% of the time in divorces.  Fathers in divorce get primary residential custody only 2.5% of the time. Unfortunately, the preceding five conclusions did not seem to fit with the pre-conceived effort to "isolate patterns of behavior that disadvantage women and to examine the results of this behavior on the economic status of women."  Finally, the foundation for the "70% solution" theory advanced by the study is hopelessly weak. The number implies that if a father wants custody, 70% of the time he will get either primary or joint physical residency. The number does not explain, for example, in how many of those cases mothers actually agreed that primary or joint physical residency was best for their children. It does not explain how many of those cases were contested cases where the judiciary determined custody after a hearing on the merits. Nor does it explain in how many of those cases the mother actively rejected custody or was unavailable to care for the children. In short, problems in the methodology underlying the 70% figure and basic failures to explore other possible explanations, render the figure utterly useless in concluding a lack of gender bias against fathers.  Indeed, analyzed fairly, the data underlying the figure strongly suggest social and cultural forces at play beyond a holistic analysis of children=s best interests. It cannot be fairly concluded through the analysis of these data that those forces are based on gender bias against fathers, but it can be fairly concluded that the study does not refute such gender bias.
Fathers in divorce get joint physical custody only 4% of the time. 
Fathers in divorce get primary or joint physical custody less than 7% of the time. 
Where fathers actively seek custody, they receive primary residency in less than one out of three cases (29%),  and joint physical residency in less than half (46%). 
C. Discriminating Against Fathers as MenMuch has been written about and many studies conducted regarding gender stereotypes and sex-based discrimination against women. Comparatively, little attention has been focused on gender stereotypes and sex-based discrimination against men.  Yet, as Professor Leo Kanowitz wrote nearly twenty years ago:
Centuries of sex-role allocation, based on "habit, rather than analysis," simply disabled Americans of either sex from restructuring the duties of military service, family support, and protections in the work place so as to permit men and women to share the burdens and benefits of social existence more equitably. Viewed in this light, the apparent power of men to change their sex-based roles in the past can be seen as being more theoretical than real. In this respect, men were as powerless as any other discrete, insular minority; past discrimination against them was invidious in every sense of the word. One expert noted that "[i]n sum, over the past two hundred years, fatherhood has lost, in full or in part, each of its four traditional roles: irreplaceable caregiver, moral educator, head of family, and family breadwinner."  Thus, particularly since the inception of the Industrial Revolution, the role of the father in the father-child dynamic has become unclear and undefined. Yet, compared to mothers, little focus has been placed on understanding the role of fathers and diminishing discrimination against them. Instead, more effort has seemingly been placed in disseminating anti-father propaganda that devalues fathers. For example, Joan Zorza, an author who writes about domestic violence, noted in a recent article that:[a]fter separation, fathers tend to fade from their children's lives, even when they have joint custody and are strongly encouraged to stay involved. Not only do separated fathers have less physical contact with their children, but also they become less altruistic over time, less likely to pay child support, and further likely to disengage from their children. Even though this article purportedly focused on domestic violence among mothers and fathers, Zorza transcended the original premise to make broad comments about the inferiority of fathers in general, "whether or not abusive."  Although numerous studies show that fathers with joint custody are much more likely to pay child support,  Zorza stated that "[j]oint legal custody does not increase the father's compliance with child support orders, does not result in his assuming greater child-rearing responsibilities, and does not increase the amount of time he spends visiting with his children."  Many experts disagree with these conclusions.  Clearly, Zorza uses domestic violence as a springboard from which to attack fathers in general, a practice she implements in other articles as well.  These generalized distortions encourage the anti-father attack and promote the limitation of the father's role to financial provider and insignificant caretaker. Viewed from the opposite end of the twentieth century, the continuous refrain throughout the last one hundred years has been that when it comes to childrearing, fathers are not that important.  Consequently, "In most parts of the country, only if the mother is grossly negligent or abusive does the father have a chance of keeping custody. Even then, the cards of the family court system are stacked against him." 
Conversely, since the 1960s, society has made a significant effort to assist women with throwing off the shackles of societally imposed gender stereotypes, most notably by passing much-needed laws to protect women seeking economic self-sufficiency.  However, because of persistent stereotypical beliefs that women are not as efficient as men in traditional male-dominated jobs, or that women are not the primary familial breadwinners,  women still earn only 71.5% of every dollar a man earns for the same job.  Moreover, while white men are a minority in the total work force (47%) and in the number of those with college degrees (48%), they hold the top jobs in nearly every field. 
For the most part, however, our culture and laws have, within the last twenty-five years, encouraged women to enter into traditional male territories such as the workplace.  At the same time, though, our culture has continued to assure women that they will be recognized and protected as the primary caregivers of children, even when women trade their traditional roles as home-dwelling caretakers for workplace laborers.  By contrast, our culture and our laws have not uniformly promoted father involvement in the home and with children. Accordingly, most men have not been permitted by society to likewise alter their roles to fully participate in childrearing. 
D. Protecting the "Weaker Sex": The State as Mr. RightSociety views women as weaker than men and in need of protection, whether by a man or by society when no man is available.  Traditionally, this protection was provided by a woman's connection to a man through the marriage contract.  However, with the increase in divorce, the state has taken it upon itself to act as the guardian of women.
This movement toward protection of women is a reaction to the success of the notion that women, as individuals, could be freed from dependence on men . . . . At a more general level, the women's movement is clamoring to build some sort of safety net or shield for women. The movement wants to return women to a position where their biological differences are taken into account. But rather than do this through the informal structures that traditionally performed this role, rather than allow men and women to form contracts in marriage and work out an arrangement that provides some security and protection for women, the movement asks the state to take on the role of protector. This approach has placed Uncle Sam in Mr. Right's shoes. The state places formal rules, laws, and regulations where informal systems of social control formerly existed. Laws insist that women be provided for through equal pay where social structures used to provide the means of survival. Laws command men to behave in a certain way with respect to women, because the informal controls that used to define the boundaries of behavior have been destroyed. In some cases this protection is appropriate, such as when legal protection is provided to battered women and women sexually harassed in the workplace. Yet, in custody determinations, women receive a clear and unequivocal advantage over men when they receive primary residential custody of children approximately 90% of the time.  This result assures mothers great power over fathers largely due to stereotypical beliefs that mothers must be primary caretakers-a belief promoted and protected by the courts who award mothers custody in overwhelming numbers.  Mothers are further advantaged because custody commonly is accompanied by a child support order (which does not have to be accounted for to fathers),  the familial residence, and the primary decisionmaking power regarding the children. As primary custodians, mothers are also awarded the opportunity to spend significantly more time with the children, thereby having a greater influence on their children's growth and development. Some have begun to recognize that when society protects women, that is, when it places women upon "pedestals" and awards them a custody advantage, it is confining women within an overly sentimentalized "cage."  By requiring mothers to be the primary caregivers of children, whether or not they desire to be, society continues to communicate to mothers that they must choose their children over all else or risk being labeled a failure as a mother, and as a woman.  Thus, women who voluntarily relinquish primary custody are frequently seen by society as "misguided, selfish, unnatural."  This refrain continues, despite the fact that numerous opportunities, notably in education and employment, have opened up to women over the last thirty years. 
Yet although opportunities for women have grown outside of the home, the beliefs that people hold about how women should act inside the home have not necessarily kept pace. Many people believe that it is good that women have more choices than before, so long as the changes do not take away from their time with their children. . . . The new opportunities they have achieved have not extended to permission to live away from their children. Thus, a divorced mother is in a precarious position-encouraged to pursue life outside the home but discouraged from doing so without her children. Thus, women are penalized if they are mothers. This double-bind furthers the continued subjugation of women: "tethering mothers to children by discouraging separations . . . also serves less felicitous functions, such as keeping women out of the labor force, securing their services for free at home, and sustaining a comforting set of social relationships."  Although women may seek to free themselves from the constraints of marriage and also perhaps their role as the primary caretakers of children when they serve as such, gender bias imbedded in the court system ensures that women remain in this role even after divorce, whether or not they want to continue in that role, and whether or not the imposition of that role is truly in the best interests of the child. Despite the efforts of legislatures to extract this gender bias from the exercise of custody determinations, courts have nonetheless clung to traditional perceptions of women as primary caretakers of children in need of state protection.
E. The Court and the Legislature: The Battle to Control Custody ConsiderationsAdhering to the motherhood mystique, courts, many of which are presided over by judges raised in traditional homes consisting of fathers as breadwinners and mothers as caretakers,  have resisted letting go of the tender years doctrine and the all things being equal doctrine, occasionally doing battle with legislatures over the child custody issue. For example, in 1971 the Florida Legislature amended Florida's child custody law in an effort to repeal the tender years doctrine: "Upon considering all relevant factors, the father of the child shall be given the same consideration as the mother in determining custody."  Nonetheless, the Florida Supreme Court reaffirmed the principles behind the tender years doctrine four years later in concluding that the all things being equal doctrine was not changed by the 1971 statute.  In 1982, the Florida Legislature responded by specifying that fathers and mothers were to be given equal consideration despite the age of the child.  Yet, some courts continued to resist the change.  In 1991, the Legislature responded again, saying neither the age nor sex of the child made a difference as between fathers and mothers in custody considerations. 
The message seemed to finally reach judges who wanted to apply either of the two outdated doctrines, when, in 1995, a Florida appellate court stated that "[t]he tender years doctrine is not a relevant fact, but an impermissible gender-based preference favoring the mother as custodian of a young child."  Nonetheless, some judicial circuits in Florida established "visitation guidelines" that reincorporated the tender years doctrine. For example, as late as 1996, the guidelines in the Twelfth Judicial Circuit provided that a noncustodial parent-almost always the father-could not have overnight visitation with a child until the child turned two years old.  Despite clear evidence about the importance of father involvement in early childhood development,  the guidelines provided noncustodial parents actual physical access to their child for less than 5% of their child's first twenty-four months of life. In 1996, the Florida Legislature responded once again, overturning the guidelines by amending the law to read: "If the court orders that parental responsibility, including visitation, be shared by both parents, the court may not deny the noncustodial parent overnight contact and access or visitation with the child solely because of the age or sex of the child." 
Nonetheless, the presumption in favor of mother-custody continues to prevail inside and outside of Florida:
In the past two decades, most states have abandoned as unconstitutional the formal presumption in favor of mothers being awarded custody, and a number of states use language encouraging shared parenting in their custody statutes. However, gender is still a statutory consideration in several jurisdictions. The child's best interests standard ostensibly considers more direct criteria of parenting capacity and patterns. Nevertheless, decisions favor mothers in a number of ways. Joint custody laws still prefer mothers as physical custodians. The primary caretaker standard, adopted explicitly in West Virginia and Minnesota, and implicitly in a number of other jurisdictions, may be a thinly veiled return to the maternal preference standard. Even in states in which the formal maternal presumption is absent, judges may make decisions as though such a presumption still exists, or may exhibit strong biases against awarding custody to fathers. Moreover, as an empirical matter, mothers obtain sole custody in an overwhelming proportion of cases. 
F. When Fathers Are MarginalizedSociologists, psychologists, criminal justice experts, and others have begun to closely examine the issue of fatherhood in our American culture and how and why fathers came to be ousted from a significant role in childrearing. Statistics clearly show that children without fathers are more likely to suffer increased psychological, educational, behavioral, and health disorders, and our society is more likely to suffer increased crime and violence. For example, a 1988 United States Department of Health and Human Services study found that at every income level except the very highest (over $50,000 a year), children living with never-married mothers were more likely than their counterparts in two-parent families to have been expelled or suspended from school, to display emotional problems, and to engage in antisocial behavior.  Children in single-parent families are two to three times as likely as children in two-parent families to have emotional and behavioral problems.  They are also more likely to drop out of high school, to get pregnant as teenagers, to abuse drugs, and to be in trouble with the law.  Eighty percent of adolescents in psychiatric hospitals come from broken homes.  Three out of four teenage suicides occur in households where a parent has been absent.  Compared to children living with both biological parents, children living apart from their biological fathers experience more accidental injury, asthma, frequent headaches, and speech defects.  Children who live apart from their fathers are more than four times more likely to smoke cigarettes as teenagers than children growing up with a father in the home.  Seventy-two percent of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers.  Sixty percent of America's rapists grew up in homes without fathers. 
The one factor that most closely correlates with crime is the absence of the father in the family.  This relationship is so closely related that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime. 
In response to these and other significant findings, groups promoting the recognition of the father's role in childrearing have met, brainstormed, and implemented programs intended to encourage and promote fathers' involvement in their children's lives.  Nonetheless, despite plenty of evidence that children need integral and consistent love and support from their fathers as well as mothers, many family courts fail to ensure that fathers play a meaningful role by awarding the children significant time with both parents in addition to joint legal responsibility for the children. At times, however, a ray of enlightenment does appear. In 1996, a Florida court stated:
With the focus of so much recent statewide and national attention on the absentee parent and the deadbeat dad, we should do everything within our power to encourage responsible parenthood, which consists not only of the legal obligation of financial support but also the maintenance of a meaningful relationship with the child. We should encourage the noncustodial parent, who is often the father, to view the relationship with his child not as an obligation which he fights every inch of the way, but as a responsibility he rushes to embrace. The ability of the noncustodial parent to develop and maintain a meaningful relationship with the child inures to the benefit of not only the parent, but also the child.  While some courts are moving toward recognizing the importance of encouraging divorcing fathers to remain integrally involved in the lives of their children, awarding them primary residential custody, or even rotating custody, is another issue. Overwhelmingly awarding mothers sole or primary residential custody of children may not only be grossly unfair to fathers and children, but the practice may violate fathers' constitutional rights to equal protection of the laws, and their fundamental right to parent their children.
IV. T HE F OURTEENTH A MENDMENT A. The Equal Protection Clause and Gender DiscriminationThe Fourteenth Amendment, enacted by Congress in 1868, states that "[n]o state shall make or enforce any law which shall . . . deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."  Congress intended to ensure that racial minorities received the same degree of personal and property rights as enjoyed by white persons (usually men).  At first, the Supreme Court interpreted the Equal Protection Clause to apply only to racial equality and no other classification.  Thus, in a case decided the day after the Slaughter-House Cases ,  the Court denied a woman's request for a license to practice law.  The Court later upheld a statute that prohibited women from working in factories for more than ten hours per day.  In subsequent direct challenges on equal protection grounds, the Court likewise upheld statutes denying women equal protection of the law. 
By 1971, however, the Court recognized that statutes designed primarily to restrict women to stereotypical roles should be subject to stricter review.  The Court struck down a statute that preferred male estate administrators over female administrators as a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.  The Court stated that it was applying the rational relation test,  but because it rejected the state's administrative reason for the discrimination, the court actually applied a heightened level of scrutiny. In Frontiero v. Richardson ,  the Court explicitly stated that gender-based classifications are inherently suspect and should be subject to strict scrutiny.  However, in the next gender-based challenge reviewed by the Court,  it retreated to an intermediate level of scrutiny for reviewing gender-based classifications. 
Intermediate scrutiny is also applied when the Court reviews statutes or policies enacted to remedy past discrimination against women.  These remedial statutes or policies frequently result in "benign discrimination" against men; that is, they were not enacted with the express intent to discriminate against men but do so as a byproduct of the government action.  Nonetheless, if the statute or policy is narrowly tailored to be substantially related to an important government interest that is remedial in nature, it will likely be upheld. 
1. Intent to Discriminate Is Required
For a plaintiff to prevail in a claim that a government act violates the Equal Protection Clause, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the government intended to discriminate.  Intent can be proven by showing that the law is facially discriminatory,  that the law is administered in a discriminatory manner,  or that although the law is facially neutral and appears to be applied in a non-discriminatory manner, discrimination can be proven through an examination of the legislative history or other evidence that clearly indicates a discriminatory intent.  Frequently, statistics are used to prove intent to discriminate. 
B. Substantive Due Process: Interference With Fundamental RightsThe Fourteenth Amendment contains the provision that "no state shall make or enforce any law which shall . . . deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."  This clause has been interpreted as limiting the substantive power of states to regulate specific areas of individuals' lives deemed to be protected by a fundamental right.  The Court first recognized a fundamental right under the Equal Protection Clause in Skinner v. Oklahoma.  3 In Skinner , the Court struck down a state statute that allowed the sterilization of certain criminals, thus interfering with what the Court deemed to be the fundamental right to have children.  Other areas such as voting  and interstate migration  have been recognized as fundamental rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. An unreasonable intrusion into these areas is deemed to interfere with a person's liberty. 
In a fundamental rights challenge, courts will first examine whether the right at issue is fundamental or non-fundamental.  Two classes of fundamental rights exist: those that are explicitly guaranteed by the United States Constitution under the fundamental rights provision of the Equal Protection Clause,  and those not specifically constitutionally enumerated but recognized by the Court as implicitly guaranteed by the Constitution under the Fourteenth Amendment's protection of fundamental rights.  If the right is deemed to be non-fundamental the courts will use the rational relation test to determine if states are pursuing a legitimate governmental objective; this analysis almost always leaves the government action intact.  If the right is deemed fundamental, however, courts will use the strict scrutiny standard and the government will have the burden to show it has a necessary and compelling interest justifying its interference with the plaintiff's fundamental right.  The court will also examine whether there are less restrictive means that could be implemented. 
1. The Parent-Child Relationship as a Fundamental Right
The fundamental liberty interest of natural parents in the care, custody, and management of their child is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.  The Court has affirmed that related parental interests falling under this original premise are similarly constitutionally protected. For example, a parent's right to educate his or her children in the manner he or she chooses has been recognized as a substantive due process fundamental right.  The Court based its decision on the "liberty of parents and guardians to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control." 
Like the United States Supreme Court, the Florida Supreme Court has also recognized that substantive due process protection must be given to parents pursuant to the fundamental liberty interest that parents have in the care, custody, and management of their children.  As a Florida Supreme Court justice noted:
The right of the parents to the custody, care and upbringing of their children is one of the most basic rights of our civilization. The emphasis upon the importance of the home unit in which children are brought up by their natural parents is one of the great humanizations of western civilization as contrasted with the ideologies of some nations where family life is not accorded primary consideration. The following year, while addressing a grandparents' rights statute, the court noted that:The extent to which the government should be involved in settling disputes within the family is a relatively new question in the law. There are, though, certain established principles. We have stated that "this Court and others have recognized a longstanding and fundamental liberty interest of parents in determining the care and upbringing of their children free from the heavy hand of government paternalism." The fundamental liberty interest in parenting is protected by both the Florida and federal constitutions. In Florida, it is specifically protected by our privacy provision. Thus, under both the US Constitution and the Florida Constitution, the court should recognize that both parents have a fundamental right to parent their child.
C. Procedural Due Process Requires a Fundamentally Fair HearingIn custody determinations, fundamentally fair procedures are required by the Fourteenth Amendment's procedural due process requirement, which protects "life, liberty, or property" interests. 
In a related procedure, a state-instituted termination of parental rights proceeding, the US Supreme Court noted that the parents had a substantive due process right to fair proceedings because the parent-child relationship is protected as a fundamental right:
[P]arents retain a vital interest in preventing the irretrievable destruction of their family life. If anything, persons faced with forced dissolution of their parental rights have a more critical need for procedural protections than do those resisting state intervention into ongoing family affairs. When the State moves to destroy weakened familial bonds, it must provide the parents with fundamentally fair procedures . It is well-recognized that "[a] fundamentally fair hearing requires the procedural steps of notice, an opportunity to be heard, the opportunity to present evidence which is relevant and material, and arbitrators who are not infected with bias ."  2 In Johnson v. Johnson ,  an Illinois appellate court invalidated a change of custody to a father because the judge demonstrated bias against the mother and refused to grant a change of venue that had been waived in a settlement agreement.  The appellate court found that the settlement agreement would waive the mother's right to a fair and impartial judge, a constitutional right that cannot be contravened. 
V. FLORIDA'S C HILD C USTODY S TATUTEIt is well-recognized in Florida that the controlling consideration in a custody determination is the best interests of the child.  Section 61.13, Florida Statutes , provides that the court shall consider and evaluate all factors affecting the welfare of the child, including but not limited to:
(3)(a) The parent who is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the nonresidential parent. (b) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parents and the child.The statute further states that:
(c) The capacity and disposition of the parents to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in lieu of medical care, and other material needs.
(d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity.
(e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home.
(f) The moral fitness of the parents.
(g) The mental and physical health of the parents.
(h) The home, school, and community record of the child.
(i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference.
(j) The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent.
(k) Evidence that any party has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding a domestic violence proceeding pursuant to s. 741.30.
(l) Evidence of domestic violence or child abuse.
(m) Any other fact considered by the court to be relevant. [i]t is the public policy of this state to assure that each minor child has frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents separate or the marriage of the parties is dissolved and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities, and joys, of childrearing. After considering all relevant facts, the father of the child shall be given the same consideration as the mother in determining the primary residence of a child irrespective of the age or sex of the child. A representative of the Florida Office of the State Courts Administrator stated that circuit court clerks are not required to report data regarding when mothers or fathers receive custody of children.  Therefore, no Florida data currently exists to prove that, as required by section 61.13(2)(b)(1), Florida Statutes , judges equally consider fathers when determining the primary residence of a child. However, a recent US Department of Commerce report stated that of children living with one parent, 87% live with their mothers, while 13% live with their fathers.  Thus, while a review of the statutory considerations does not indicate an obvious preference that would result in mothers receiving primary residential custody in overwhelming numbers, by inference, national statistics indicate that Florida follows the trend of primarily awarding custody of children to mothers. 
VI. T HE F OURTEENTH A MENDMENT AND C HILD C USTODYWhile fathers have raised equal protection challenges to the mother-preference in custody determinations, it appears, at least at the appellate level,  that none have been successful-unless the statute states a blatant presumption favoring mothers.  Most challenges appear to have been dismissed either because the court apparently had difficulty understanding the fathers' arguments or because, according to the court, the fathers' attorneys did not properly present valid arguments backed by compelling facts capable of supporting an equal protection claim. Similarly, very few cases claiming that the child custody system violates the fundamental right to the parent-child relationship appear to have reached the appellate level.
A. Challenges From Divorcing or Formerly Married FathersIn Ropoleski v. Rairigh ,  the Michigan federal district court stated that the father "did not allege that he had been subjected to adverse treatment because he is male, but that his former wife ha[d] been granted preferential treatment, to his detriment."  After noting that the father was making an equal protection challenge claiming that a facially neutral policy had been administered unequally, the court stated that the father must show not only that the defendants' conduct had a discriminatory effect, but that discriminatory purpose was also a motivating factor.  The court further noted that "'[d]iscriminatory purpose' implies that the decisionmaker selected a course of action because of its detrimental effects on an identifiable group. Error, mistake in judgment or arbitrary administration in applying a facially neutral policy does not violate equal protection."  The court then addressed the challenge:
Plaintiff has alleged, baldly, that [two court administrators], both men, discriminated against him purposefully, pursuant to custom or policy, because he is a man. The complaint provides no factual detail in support of the claim. Plaintiff has not identified the discriminatory policy or custom with any specificity. His allegations offer no explanation as to why defendants' alleged lenient or preferential treatment of his former wife should give rise to a reasonable inference that intention to injure him in his relationship with his daughter, because he is a man, is the primary motivating factor. Not only is the claim not supported by factual details, but, even when viewed in the abstract, it is not supported by reasoned sense. Though gender based discrimination is suspect, plaintiff as a male, is not a member of a group whose interests have traditionally been under-represented in the political process. Based on the facts alleged, the notion that plaintiff's injury is the result of gender based discrimination-rather than, for instance, an erroneous or even arbitrary exercise of discretion-is implausible. Plaintiff's equal protection claim is subject to dismissal as one "whose factual contentions are clearly baseless." To countenance such a claim under the alleged facts would be to invite disgruntled parents everywhere to embroil the federal courts in child custody and support disputes, matters traditionally and appropriately entrusted to the state courts . . . simply by alleging gender discrimination. This, the Court refuses to do. The court then dismissed the equal protection claim.  In Fariello v. Rodriguez ,  the father, appearing pro se, claimed that numerous named defendants deprived him of equal protection under the law.  The court stated that a review of the "voluminous complaint" provided no evidence that any government official interpreted any statute to single out the plaintiff.  The court added that no such action could foreseeably occur, either, and dismissed the action with prejudice. 
B. Challenges From Unwed Fathers1. Equal Protection Challenges in General
Equal Protection claims raised by unwed fathers generally arise in the contested-adoption context. While adoptions are frequently handled by family courts, they are usually governed by statutes separate from those addressing custody when parents divorce.  Nonetheless, many of the custodial issues are similar and provide interesting insight into equal protection challenges. In particular, contested adoption or out-of-wedlock custody cases demonstrate the enormous differences in treatment between unwed mothers and unwed fathers. 
In Wyoming, a father adverse to placing his child for adoption claimed an equal protection violation had been committed when the mother of the child was allowed to place the child for adoption without his consent.  The Court restated what it believed to be the gist of the father's argument: that the court was "inferring that a young man cannot take care of his child, while a young woman who does not want her child, can and is fit because she is a woman."  The Court stated that the father was arguing that "[i]f he was a woman, the Court would very likely give the child to him."  Apparently confused by the father's argument, the court wrote:
GWJ [the father], of course, has no authority to assert BGH's [the child's] right to equal protection. His standing does not permit him to assert the rights of another. BGH's guardian ad litem represents her interest, and the guardian ad litem stated: As the child's guardian ad litem, the undersigned asserts that her right to equal protection under the laws has not been violated in any way, but has, on the contrary, been zealously protected by the District Court in these proceedings. As to his own right, GWJ's argument is at best obscure. We understand the gist to be that, because the court did not rule in his favor, he was denied his right to equal protection. GWJ does not attack the [relevant statutes] as being facially unconstitutional or encompassing a discriminatory motive. We are not able to discern any discrimination. . . . The adoption statute . . . does not favor one class over another, and it does not endorse mothers over fathers or women over men or adoptive parents over birth parents. There can be no valid argument that the statute is facially unconstitutional or encompasses a discriminatory motive. The court concluded that "GWJ fail[ed] to make any logical argument in support of this claim of error."  It added that the father failed to point to any portion of the record evidencing a denial of his right to equal protection.  Quoting the district court, the appeals court noted that mother was identified as:"the most sensible and mature of the two biological parents, but in addition she is the most credible. . . ." Our examination of the record does not permit us to conclude the district court was biased or prejudiced against GWJ on gender grounds in this case. His right to equal protection of the law was not violated, and his argument must fail. 2. Challenges to Facially Discriminatory Statutes Arizona has a statute that declares the mother of a child born out of wedlock the child's legal custodian until paternity is established.  3 In Arizona v. Bean ,  after being convicted of custodial interference for failing to return his child to the child's mother following a visitation, a father challenged the statute as a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's and the Arizona Constitution's Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses because it created a statutory distinction between biological mothers and fathers.  The father also argued that statutorily embodied unequal treatment afforded to married, unmarried, separated or divorced fathers similarly amounted to constitutional violations. 
The court disagreed with the father's argument that "there is no difference in the importance between the maternal and paternal roles" and that therefore no compelling state interest existed warranting a distinction based on gender.  The court first attacked the argument by noting that although the Supreme Court has recognized an unmarried father's constitutionally protected interest in a relationship with his child,  the Court "also recognized, however, that such a right is not absolute and that protection of the child is also an important state interest."  The court explained:
Thus, the importance of the paternal role in a child's development notwithstanding, we cannot say that equal custody rights between all unmarried fathers and mothers effectuate the best interests of the child. To the contrary, as suggested by one writer, such a practice could have "disastrous consequences" for the child. See Brigitte M. Bodenheimer, New Trends and Requirements in Adoption Law and Proposals for Legislative Change, 49 S. Cal. L. Rev. 10 (1975). As the statutory presumption at issue here operates to preserve the child's interest in stability, it is not without a compelling state interest such as referred to in Lehr . Moreover, because the presumption is operative only until paternity and custody in the child's best interest are established by a court, it does not go substantially beyond the protection of that interest. The father also argued that because he was similarly situated to the mother he was entitled to protection equal to that provided to the child's mother as well as to married, divorced, and separated fathers.  Again, the court disagreed:As in Lehr , we conclude that the parents here are not similarly situated. The testimony at trial established that, while the mother provided daily supervision, care and financial support for the child from the time of his birth, defendant lived with the mother only sporadically, living at times in another city, and provided what at best can be described as minimal financial support. The evidence was undisputed at trial that defendant never took any steps whatsoever to establish his paternity or exercised any custodial or visitation rights and was not living with the mother and child in a de facto family relationship at the time of the abduction. . . . The defendant was never the caregiver or provider for the child. Thus, defendant and the natural mother were similarly situated [only] in a biological sense . . . . Despite recognition of the mother's fundamental right to parent the child because of giving birth to the child, the Bean court noted that "'[p]arental rights do not spring full-blown from the biological connection between parent and child. They require relationships more enduring.'"  The court added that because the father had not taken "a single step as required by statute to establish his paternity, he cannot be said to be similarly situated with all married, divorced and separated fathers."  The court noted that the Supreme Court had specifically recognized that the "'mere existence of a biological link' does not create parental rights deserving of protection under the due process clause."  Concluding, the Arizona appellate court affirmed the trial court's declaration that the statute is substantially related to an important state interest and is not a gender-based equal protection violation. 
A Utah appeals court reviewed the issue of whether requiring the father to register an acknowledgment of paternity violated the Equal Protection Clause.  The father argued that:
the similarly situated parents of an illegitimate child are given different legal rights solely on the basis of their sex since the mother's consent is required prior to any adoption of the child regardless of whether she is willing to fulfill her parental responsibilities while the father has the right to consent to the child's adoption only if he files an acknowledgment of paternity indicating his willingness and intent to support the child. The court stated that the statute was designed to readily determine the paternity of illegitimate children so as to "facilitate immediate and continuing physical care of and emotional bonding opportunities for such children."  The father argued that the statute was based on gender differences not reasonably related to these purposes, in that:the statute defeats its objective by failing to require the mother of an illegitimate child to take action to identify herself as a willing parent as fathers are required to do since an unfit and indifferent mother can prevent the adoption of her child and, thus, fail to provide appropriate physical care and emotional bonding opportunities for the child. The father further argued that:the statutory objective is also defeated because it results in gender-based discrimination against "identified, present, and willing fathers" who would, in fact, provide the necessary care and bonding opportunities for the child, and that an indifferent mother can arbitrarily deprive such a father of his parental rights under the statute. The court responded by noting that the Utah Supreme Court held that the statute did not violate the equal protection rights of an unwed father because he had the same rights as the mother or the father of a legitimate child, if he timely filed an acknowledgment of paternity pursuant to the statute.  Therefore, the court added, when the father failed to timely file an acknowledgment of paternity or develop a substantial relationship with the child, the Equal Protection Clause did not preclude the state from terminating his parental rights.  The court noted that the state's interest is to promptly identify fathers who will acknowledge parental responsibilities, and to make children speedily available for adoption.  As did the court in Bean , this court dismissed the father's "mere" biological link to the child:[F]athers who have "fulfilled a parental role over a considerable period of time are entitled to a high degree of protection," whereas unwed fathers "whose relationships to their children are merely biological or very attenuated" are entitled to a lesser degree of protection. . . . When an unwed father demonstrates a full commitment to the responsibilities of parenthood by "com[ing] forward to participate in the rearing of his child," his interest in personal contact with his child acquires substantial protection under the due process clause. . . . But the mere existence of a biological link does not merit equivalent constitutional protection . The court recognized that unwed mothers were "'automatically identified by virtue of their role in the process of birth,'" but that if a mother was shown to be unfit, the state could terminate her parental rights.  The court concluded that the gender differences in the statutory classifications were reasonably related to the statutory purposes. 
VII. C HALLENGING G ENDER B IAS IN C USTODIAL D ECISIONS A. Bringing an Equal Protection ChallengeFathers seeking to bring an equal protection challenge in court face many hurdles. Perhaps the biggest hurdle is proving that the court intended to discriminate when it awarded custody of the children to the mother because of gender discrimination.
In child custody statutes involving divorce cases, statutes that delineate the mother as the primary custodian violate the Equal Protection Clause because they are facially discriminatory and the intent to discriminate is obvious. Most states have repealed such laws for this reason. 
When the statute is not facially discriminatory but purports to treat both parents equally, as does Florida's statute,  the challenge will be much more difficult. A father seeking to prove that his right to equal protection of the law was denied must present evidence that the law was administered in a discriminatory manner by the trial judge.  As demonstrated in the Ropoleski case, this is a difficult standard to meet. Most judges do not state that they are awarding custody to the mother because she is the mother; instead, they may base their decision on a finding that the mother is the more fit parent due to her role as the primary caretaker and that it is in the child's best interests to remain with her.  Some states do not require courts to make specific findings of fact for the record when determining custody, and courts in these states do not have to articulate any reasons for their decisions. Florida is one of these states. The failure to require specific findings on the record makes it highly difficult to prove exactly what motivated the judge's decision, and thus opens the door for the court to interject gender biases favoring mother-custody when making a custody determination. 
In 1991, the Georgia Commission on Gender Bias in the Judicial System released a report listing "[c]ulturally based gender-biased beliefs that influence some judges and disadvantage fathers."  The Commission found that these beliefs included:
A. The belief that a mother is a better parent than a father.  B. The belief that children, especially young children, need to be with their mothers. The Commission noted that in addition to the actual application of these biases by judges, "perceptions of gender bias discourage fathers from seeking custody by creating a 'chilling effect,'" thus convincing fathers that it is not worth their effort to even seek custody.  To address the problem of gender bias in Florida's custody determinations, during the 1998 legislative session Senator Katherine Harris  introduced a bill that would require judges to state in writing the findings of fact upon which they based their custody decision.  The bill includes findings that state:
C. The belief that a father cannot work outside the home and be a nurturing parent. 
D. The belief that because a mother is presumed to be the better parent, fathers must prove the mother "unfit" in order to gain custody. 
E. The belief that if a court grants custody to a father, it brands the mother as "unfit" and "unworthy." 
[S]ome residents of this state have a perception that, despite the gender neutrality of [the custody statute], the law is being applied by trial courts in a gender-biased manner, and [S]uch a perception, if grounded in fact, is unacceptable, is contrary to children's best interest, and is contrary to the public policy of this state, andThe legislation seeks to ensure that trial courts adhere to the legislative policy of considering both parents equally when making a custody determination.  A father or fathers could also claim that, as a group, fathers have been denied equal protection of the law as a collateral effect of a custody policy, rather than through the application of express discrimination by a state actor (here, the trial judge). Notably, however, in Personnel Administrator of Massachusetts v. Feeney  the Supreme Court required that the group whose rights were infringed upon demonstrate that nearly all of its members were discriminated against to prove that the state intended to discriminate. 
. . . .
[A] lack of a record of trial court proceedings can prevent meaningful review or other analysis of trial court action . . . . 
Thus, absent express gender-bias by a trial judge, fathers alleging that the law is applied in a discriminatory manner may be required to demonstrate an absolute preference for mothers over fathers; that is, at the trial level no fathers receive custody. In one particular courtroom or in some small, remote counties this may be the case, and then a plaintiff may actually be able to prove a 100% impact. A particular judge might never award custody to fathers, and may even make comments indicating that, as a rule, he or she never awards children to fathers because, for example, "Children belong with their mothers." A "mere" disparate impact on fathers, however, will not likely be enough to prove an equal protection violation.  Invidious discrimination must be demonstrated.  It may be inferred from a totality of the facts, including the fact that the law bears more heavily on one group than another.  Thus, as depicted in Rogers v. Lodge ,  a voting rights case involving racial discrimination, a statistical showing of the impact is key to the claim. 
Because the gender of the parents is at issue, a reviewing court should apply intermediate scrutiny to determine if there is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.  The state must show that its interest is substantially related to an important governmental interest.  In a custody case, that interest is to further the best interests of the child.  A court that has an overt or covert policy of awarding children to mothers would have to show that this policy is substantially related to the governmental interest of meeting the best interests of the child. There is a wealth of information which states that children need both fit parents to be significantly involved in their upbringing.  Thus, a child's needs would be better met by an award of joint physical or rotating custody where the parties reside within the same locale and can reasonably cooperate regarding the arrangement.  Where the parties do not reside within the same locale, or where the parties are unable to cooperate, and one party must be deemed the primary residential caretaker, the best interests of the child are met not by following a policy that awards children to mothers solely because they are women, but by a careful analysis of who is the overall more fit parent regardless of gender.
B. Bringing a Substantive Due Process ChallengeA father may also bring a cause of action based on state interference with a substantive due process fundamental right. While this issue has arisen in the contested-adoption context,  it should also apply to divorced fathers when the state discriminatorily provides custody to mothers.
A claim that fundamental rights have been violated requires the reviewing court to apply strict , rather than intermediate, scrutiny. Thus, the state would need to show a necessary and compelling interest to justify its interference with the father's fundamental right. This argument might best be raised in a situation where both parents are fit, reside in the same community, and are suitable for rotating or joint physical custody, yet the trial court awards the mother primary residential custody and the father visitation of every other weekend.  When an activity is constitutionally protected, as is the fundamental right to parent, a state must chose the least restrictive means possible to achieve its goal.  Absent good cause, it would appear that the court, in this situation, would be interfering with the father's fundamental right to parent his child; the father, then, should be entitled to a review of strict scrutiny.
If the appellate court finds that the trial court did interfere with the father's fundamental right to parent his child without a compelling state interest, the court could remand the case and order that the father's right to parent his child be reflected through rotating or joint physical custody, or through a greater award of visitation. However, the appellate court could make such a determination itself.
C. Challenging Fundamentally Unfair HearingsThe failure to provide a fundamentally fair hearing is a violation of procedural due process, a constitutionally protected right.  Procedural due process requires that the party whose interest is threatened be provided with a meaningful opportunity to be heard.  Inherent in this right to be heard is a right to a fair proceeding;  the interjection of gender bias into a proceeding violates the requirement that the hearing be fair.  Thus, judges who make custody determinations not on a record basis, but on the basis of gender bias, violate procedural due process. 
Ideally, a father bringing a claim should be supported by a transcript from the trial court proceeding that evinces discriminatory comments made on the record.  However, even this evidence of judicial discrimination can be ignored by the reviewing court. For example, in Dalin v. Dalin ,  the North Dakota Supreme Court denied the father's claim that the roughly equal custody arrangement that had been modified to allow the mother to have custody for nearly nine and a half months of the year was motivated in part due to gender bias.  The court reviewed the trial court transcript, which contained questions demonstrating that the trial court had used stereotypical caretaking roles in making its decision.  After stating that "[g]ender bias in judicial proceedings is wholly unacceptable,"  the court noted that:
if the trial court assumed that fathers, as a group, are incapable of adequately raising their daughters, it would be relying on an improper factor to determine custody. Trial courts should not "perpetuate the damaging stereotype that a mother's role is one of caregiver, and the father's role is that of an apathetic, irresponsible, or unfit parent." Nonetheless, because the father had admitted that the child's grandmother assisted him with "training that might best be done by a woman,"  the court found that his request for permanent sole custody was appropriately denied,  although the father had had sole custody for four months prior to the custody modification, and had presented evidence that the mother had a history of alcohol abuse and an unstable life.  A father may challenge gender bias by claiming that the court has violated his right to equal protection of the laws, his fundamental right to parent his child, and his procedural due process right to a fair hearing. Ideally, any claims should be supported by discriminatory comments recorded in a transcript. Absent this proof, a father may choose to research custody records within a particular clerk of the court's office to determine whether any fathers have been awarded primary residential custody by a particular judge.  Because of cases such as Feeney , the unfortunate fact is that claimants will likely need to show a nearly 100% impact on the affected group.
In any event, it is hoped that fathers raising this challenge will be able to call to the court's attention the serious breach of their rights when fathers are discriminated against in custody decisions because of their gender. An increase in these claims may put courts on notice that fathers intend to see that their constitutional rights are upheld, and that courts absolutely must, for the best interests of children, fairly and justly weigh both parents equally when primary residential custody must be determined.
Fathers may have greater success with claims that trial courts have violated their fundamental right to parent their children. Because it is well-established that the right to parent one's child is a fundamental, constitutionally protected right, strict, rather than intermediate, scrutiny should be applied by the appellate court.  The state must have a compelling reason for interfering with the fundamental right.  In the least, it is hoped that this type of appeal will allow a father to acquire a significantly increased amount of time with his child, if not rotating or joint physical custody. Some fathers may be able to impress upon the trial court the sanctity of the parent-child relationship, and the seriousness with which custody determinations must be approached to ensure that the fundamental right to parent is minimally infringed upon.
Regarding a father's right to a fair hearing, a transcript is almost certainly essential to prove to an appellate court that the custody hearing was not fundamentally fair. Thus, whenever possible, fathers should have court reporters record custody proceedings. In conjunction with the requirement that states require judges to submit their custody awards in writing, with detailed findings of fact,  it is hoped that the increased use of trial transcripts will help to root out gender bias which results in fundamentally unfair proceedings.
VIII. R ECOMMENDATIONS A. End "Selective Discrimination"Misandry has been defined as "the attribution of negative qualities to the entire male gender."  Today, it is politically correct within our culture to belittle and berate men, although the very same treatment toward women could result in a civil lawsuit.  This is selective discrimination .
While the male power structure undoubtedly deserves criticism, males alone do not defend and uphold its principles; indeed, many women support male values, such as individualism, liberty, production, and competition. Moreover, as evidenced in family court, for example, males can be victimized by the male power structure, which perpetuates the myth that, to be recognized as valuable, fathers must economically provide for their families.
However, to discriminate against individual men because they are men is an entirely different matter. As women and minorities have argued for the last thirty years regarding their particular interests, men, too, should be evaluated on an individual, non-discriminatory basis, especially when it comes to custody of children. To do otherwise extinguishes the ability to fairly evaluate and administer the placement that is in the best interests of children.
In 1996, NOW issued National Conference Resolutions announcing that the organization was preparing a counterassault against all fathers' rights groups because their recent successes-primarily legislation that inched fathers minimally forward to permitting them to spend more time with their children-threatened "all women." 
What is so wrong with fathers spending more time with their children? For many women, this change presents a threat in the only arena in which they clearly have an advantage: the family court. On the one hand, it is hard to blame women for fighting tooth and nail to maintain every inch of the status quo they enjoy within our legal system. But because women have fought for-and won-the right to enter into traditional male domains, women should therefore understand what it feels like to be subject to oppression, based on a physical characteristic. Instead of judging all males "in the form of universals, rather than in the form of particulars of individual parents' experiences,"  women must recognize the important role most fathers play in the lives of their children. Furthermore, women should take this recognition one step further:
Theoretical literature depicts "mothering" as an activity exclusive to women. Fathers will continue not to be custodial parents as long as societal divisions of child care responsibility persist. Feminist theory could do much toward exploding the myth that parenting is a sex-linked trait, and toward fostering an understanding of how men can nurture and take on child care responsibilities. Indeed, many women might ask "Why should we encourage fathers to care for and seek custody of children when it will leave us as second class citizens in the workplace and at home?" Because welcoming fathers into the childcare sphere benefits women as well as children, in that it frees women of oppressive stereotypical roles and allows men to explore and incorporate traditionally female-identified characteristics, making both women and men better people; because it is undoubtedly in the best interests of children to have the maximum amount of love and care from both fit parents; because having been subjugated by gender bias, women should know better and thus should be true to female values, such as communitarian inclusion, rather than tyrannical oppression. Discrimination against fathers not only unjustly harms fathers, but even more significantly, harms children who suffer when their fathers are treated as insignificant, disposable factors unessential in the lives of their children.
B. Implement "Courtwatch" Programs to Empirically Examine Contested Custody DecisionsProblematically, many gender bias studies gather their data through subjective surveys, questionnaires, and personal testimonies rather than through empirical examinations of the actual custody-making decision in the courtroom. 
Objective data regarding custody awards should be gathered to
determine whether the gender-biased application of gender-neutral laws is occurring. Legislatures should either fund their own studies, fund studies by the judiciary, or contract out to private organizations to develop a methodology for tracking, categorizing, and analyzing custody awards in selected, representative areas. Moreover, until trial judges are required to provide written findings supporting their reasons for awarding custody or primary residency to one parent over another,  a courtwatch program should be funded and implemented to monitor the way courts, witnesses, and experts treat mothers and fathers in custody litigation.
Implementing these two recommendations should inform policymakers of what is truly considered when family courts make custody decisions.
C. Implement a Statutory Presumption in Favor of Joint Physical or Rotating CustodyRecognizing that children need both parents, some states have passed legislation that presumes that parents will share parental responsibility of children.  In some states, statutes invoke a presumption that joint custody is in the best interests of children when both parents agree to it. 
In 1997, the Florida Legislature passed a bill stating that rotating custody is a viable option for judges to consider when determining custodial arrangements.  Rotating custody means that parents who live within the same community can split custody of the child fifty-fifty, such as where the child lives one week with one parent, and a subsequent week with the other parent.
Florida, and all states, should establish a rebuttable presumption in favor of not only shared parental responsibility but also joint residential or rotating custody when both parents are fit and live within the same community. The presumption should be defeated only if independent, corroborated facts demonstrate clearly that rotating custody is not in the best interests of the child.  The presumption should not be defeated merely because the parent likely to be the custodial parent does not want to engage in rotating custody. An opportunity to opt out merely by choice places noncustodial parents, usually fathers, at the mercy of the custodial parent. This result favors the mother because if she declines to support rotating custody she has a much greater chance of receiving primary residential custody.
D. Require Judges to Make Specific Findings of Fact When Determining CustodyIn Florida, the law currently does not require judges to make specific findings as to why they are awarding primary residential custody to one parent over another. 
Chapter 61 should be amended to require that when making primary residential custody determinations, judges must state on the record specific findings as to why they are awarding primary residential custody to a particular parent.  Presently, most judges simply state that they find it is in the best interests of children that the mother receive primary residential custody, without specifically stating why they are making that finding. Requiring these findings to be made in detail and on the record would better indicate whether judges are truly considering the statutory criteria of gender neutrality when making custody determinations. This requirement would also help to demonstrate when judges are abusing their discretion and exercising gender bias when making their determination. Finally, specific findings stated on the record would better preserve the issue for appeal. Under the current practice, an appellate court is highly unlikely to reverse a judge's custody determination because the statute allows judges to exercise broad subjective discretion and reviewing courts usually award great deference to trial court judges' decisions.
E. Require Clerks of the Circuit Courts to Record Which Parent Receives Primary Residential CustodyAlthough Florida's child custody statute states that "[a]fter considering all relevant facts, the father of the child shall be given the same consideration as the mother in determining the primary residence of a child irrespective of the age or sex of the child,"  statistics are not being kept by the clerks of the circuit courts to confirm that courts are adhering to this statutory requirement. There is currently no evidence that fathers are being considered as primary residential custodians to the same degree that mothers are considered. Indeed, the evidence appears to indicate that Florida follows the national trend of awarding primary residential custody to mothers in overwhelming numbers. Therefore, in order to enforce adherence to the statutory requirement that fathers be considered equally when custody is determined, either the legislature or the supreme court should require circuit courts to report whether the mother or the father receives primary residential custody during the initial custody determination of the divorce proceeding.
F. Revise Child Support GuidelinesAlthough the very troublesome topic of child support is beyond the scope of this Comment, courts should note that United States General Accounting Office statistics demonstrate that two-thirds of all fathers with child support arrearages are incapable of paying the amount ordered. 
More often than not, these "guidelines" are adhered to as the absolute law rather than simple guidelines. States should realize that child support can be an impediment to the father-child relationship.  For example, when fathers reside a significant distance away from their children, excessive child support can interfere with the father's ability to spend time with his children due to transportation costs. Additionally, child support guidelines do not take into account that fathers must set up separate residences requiring furnishings and other accommodations and supplies for children. For example, the report on which Florida's current child support guidelines are based states that the author drafted the guidelines according to a two-parent intact family model, rather than incorporating the reality of two separate households.  Second household set-up and maintenance costs were intentionally excluded.  With the move toward joint and rotating custody of children, the need to include these costs within the child support formula becomes even greater. The exclusion of such costs is not only patently unfair to noncustodial parents, but to children as well who suffer when their noncustodial parent is subject to actual, or near abject, poverty, or cannot provide an additional home that parallels the quality of the home offered by the mother. As Cynthia L. Ewing, a Senior Policy Analyst with the Children's Rights Council noted:
[F]or a child support system to work, the levels of child support must be reasonable and based on the TRUE costs of raising children. In practice, the child support guidelines are none of the above. Child support guidelines must reflect the basic fact that it costs more to maintain two households than one. Excessive child support awards which force obligors to work 2 or 3 jobs in order to meet their support payment are NOT serving the best interests of our children. Parents caught in this trap simply do not have the time to parent, to provide the emotional support and guidance which our children desperately need. Excessive support awards which drive obligors themselves into poverty or homelessness are NOT serving the best interests of our children. While the media is quick to note that many custodial parents, primarily mothers, are living in poverty, they fail to report that the same may also apply to noncustodial parents. A University of Wisconsin study found that 58% of non-custodial parents are living below the poverty level. Congress must recognize the unfortunate fact that children of divorced or separated parents may never exist at the same standard of living they enjoyed as an intact family. Congress must accept that the overwhelming majority of children of unwed parents will likely be raised at a standard of living at or below the poverty level, regardless of the bureaucracy's success at collecting child support. States should implement study commissions composed of genuinely unbiased members including custodial and non-custodial fathers and mothers who can redesign child support guidelines to include costs necessary to set-up and maintain both households. Moreover, non-custodial parents with fifty-fifty custody should not be required to pay child support as long as the child's reasonable needs are met in both households. Women should recognize the dishonesty of arguing for social equality yet voluntarily submitting themselves to the traditional experience of extracting financial support from men to support children when it is not necessary to support the reasonable needs of the children.  In most cases, responsible fathers who are allowed to remain involved in their children's lives will financially contribute directly to the child's care as they did prior to the divorce. Funding for needs beyond those which are reasonable should not be routed through mothers via state-instituted wealth transfers.
G. Implement True Parity in the WorkplaceIn the end, the most effective way to correct the post-divorce inequities between the sexes is simple: correct pay inequality in the work force. If the wage gap were wiped out between the sexes, a federal advisory council concluded in 1982, one half of female-headed households would be instantly lifted out of poverty. Women, and men , should proactively seek eradication of the glass ceiling and should pursue true economic and social values parity for women in the workplace. True parity, however, does not mean that women should be expected to adopt the male-norm in the workplace; instead, the workplace should fully integrate behavior culturally identified as female-based:Women have tried too long and too hard to be like men. The second stage of the social transformation must be for men to become more like women. The traditional male power base in the workplace no longer simply can bring women on board, and expect them to thrive and prosper because they are there. Rather, the workplace must become more humane and inviting for all. It must recognize that workers have personal lives and that families require time and attention, and integrate these factors into the workplace. With the transformation in gender roles so that now both parents are expected to care for children and work, quality, inexpensive daycare, preferably on workplace premises, is essential. Both parents should be equally and actively encouraged by employers to play a significant role in the lives of their children. Employers should permit parents to engage in alternative work hours or to work from the home via telecommuting. Fathers, as well as mothers, should take leave from work when necessary to care for their children. These are just a few examples of ways in which employers should actively incorporate behavior culturally identified as female within the workplace. IX. C ONCLUSIONThe evidence is overwhelming and demands that we re-examine the wisdom of conventional custody . Unless you believe that a father's value to his children diminishes after divorce, it is hard to justify a custody policy that routinely and automatically disrupts the divorced father's relationship with his children. The notion that only mothers are important to their children is false; it is time to jettison it from custody policy. If the treatment fathers receive in the family court occurred in the workplace, an affirmative action plan would likely be implemented to rectify the pervasive discrimination and barriers fathers encounter as they seek meaningful access to their children in family courts. Ample evidence exists to prove that children need loving fathers to substantively care for them. Many fathers stand ready and willing to take on this charge, despite societal messages that "real men don't take care of children." As Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal noted in Willey v. Willey ,  courts should do all that is possible to encourage fathers to embrace their fatherhood, rather than interject barriers and gender bias to confine fathers to insignificant child care roles. In turn, mothers should encourage the father-child relationship, and should seek and expect true parity in the workplace that incorporates culturally female-identified values. As the twentieth century concludes, both mothers and fathers, and all members of society, including judges, must work actively to discard outdated gender stereotypes that are no longer relevant and that oppress both men and women at home, in the workplace, and in family court. The health and well-being of children depend on the ability of both parents, and all others, to work cooperatively to achieve this critical goal.
Reunión de los lunes
miércoles, 30 de enero de 2013
La zaga de los tiempos: la paternidad, custodia y Sesgo de género en el Tribunal de Familia
Miércoles, 30 de Enero, 2013
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