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Does My Gender Play a Role in a Best Interest Determination?

In Child Custody by Elizabeth Stephenson

If you are a father interested in custody of your children, you may feel hopeless and that seeking custody is a lost cause. This is natural, as the concept of maternal preference in child custody proceedings, also known as the “tender years doctrine,” has existed since the nineteenth century. Under this doctrine of maternal gender preference, it was believed that children should be with their mother during their formative years (generally from age 0 to 4). In fact, these laws lasted well into the twentieth century in this country and until the 1970’s in North Carolina. The Best Interest of the Child Standard Does Not Give Gender Preference to Mothers In 1977, the state shifted to the “best interest of the child” standard, which makes no presumption about whether a …

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Are Mothers Given Custody Preference Over Fathers?

In Child Custody by Sarah Hink

  When it comes to child custody matters, many people presume that mothers automatically get the children. In fact, many fathers feel discouraged or that fighting a custody proceeding is a lost cause because they won’t get a fair opportunity from the legal system to actually obtain custody of their children. While it is important to understand why there is some historic truth underlying this belief, it is equally important to understand that maternal preference is not the law. The “Tender Years” Doctrine Prior to the nineteenth century, the law in Britain automatically gave children to their fathers when parents divorced. This wasn’t based on the children’s best interest, but was more due to women’s lack of legal rights at the time. The law changed when Caroline Norton, a well-known …

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Fathers Have Rights in North Carolina

In Child Custody, Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

The law recognizes that the parent-child relationship is a critical one and that it is generally in children’s best interest to have a continued, bonded relationship with both of their parents. It is a simple fact that in most situations children need fathers, and they thrive emotionally, socially, and academically when they are able to have healthy, consistent relationships. Therefore, if you are a father of a child in North Carolina, it is important to understand your parental rights and how to exercise them. Paternity In order to have parental rights, you have to be legally recognized as a child’s father. These include important rights like custody, visitation, and decision-making. If you were married to the mother of the child at the time of the child’s conception or birth, the …

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A History of Father’s Rights

In Child Custody, Parenting, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

In the eyes of the law in North Carolina, mothers and fathers enter child custody proceedings with equal footing. In other words, when a child custody case is filed, there is no presumption that a child is better of with their mother or that they are better off with their father. Instead, a court has to hear evidence from both parents, then order a parenting plan that serves the child’s best interest. However, this was not always the case. In honor of father’s day, we are taking a look back at historical trends in father’s rights to their children. The “Tender Years” Doctrine In pre-industrial England and in colonial America, fathers were once granted sole custody of children if a divorce occurred. This is because women had an incredibly limited …