Family law for dads: Does the system discriminate against Fathers?

family law for dads

When it comes to family law for dads, there a variety of deeply entrenched issues that spring their heads up. These issues come from a variety of different sources and can be identified in our cultural history as well as the way the law is interpreted today.

Most commonly, issues regarding family law for dads come in the form of a perceived bias against fathers when it comes to relationship breakdowns. This involves issues, primarily child custody, whereby men feel like the courts favour women in making decisions relating to the future of the family.

Many fathers feel as if the court system believes that mothers are automatically better caregivers and are less likely to be ‘at fault’ for the divorce. While we have a system of ‘no fault’ divorce in Australia, many men feel like they are scrutinised more heavily than women are.

While these issues are most commonly seen through anecdotal examples, there are still statistical trends associated with it that warrant addressing. A combination of pop culture and general ignorance has led a great deal of people to have a pre-conceived notion of what professional family law firms in Sydney are really worth.

Short answer; no

No, family law for dads is not automatically harder than it is for mums. There’s absolutely no precedent or legal ruling whereby one gender is advantaged over the others.

In fact, the court system is far more concerned with the welfare of the children than either of the warring parents. The law states that a child is entitled to a meaningful relationship with their parents as long as no issues (such a violence or drug abuse for example) prevent that relationship.

The child’s safety always trumps any of the issues the parents are having. Each issue is dealt just as seriously, no matter the gender of the parent.

Several different factors influence the arrangements for time each parent can have with their child, such as;

  • Their age,
  • Distance between residential households,
  • The post-breakup relationship of the parents (if any)
  • The work and other life commitments of the parents
  • The child’s opinion (depending on their maturity)
  • The child’s indigenous or cultural background
  • Any other relevant issues

The age of the child is a major deciding factor in family law for dads. The younger the child, the more attached it will be to its primary caregiver as it will obviously be less independent.

The primary caregiver, or primary attachment, is the parent by which the majority of the child’s daily needs are met. This is not to say the other parent isn’t important, it merely states which parent meets the fundamental physiological needs of the child.

Throughout human history, the primary caregiver has been the mother. This is largely biological as men have historically, hunted, gathered and worked to provide for mothers and their children.

This dichotomy between breadwinner and homemaker has been slowly broken down over the centuries to the point where it’s hardly as recognisable. Mandy modern families will share childcare and work responsibilities between mothers and fathers.

In terms of family law for dads however, this historical trend has created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because fathers have historically always been the breadwinner, courts have assumed that men can get back to work after a divorce with less trouble than women can.

This is because, again historically, women gave up their careers to go and raise children. This means that stay-at-home mums who get divorced will be pressured to re-enter the workforce having lost a lot of their skill and experience.

For family law for dads, this has meant courts have historically always given women higher rights to property settlement and child custody. This is not because of any deliberate sexism with family law for dads, it simply responds to the natural demographics of the population.