View Post

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 …

View Post

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 …