Traditionally, mothers have been granted custody of their children in the event of a divorce.
Courts generally considered mothers to be the preferred caretakers of children, particularly young children under four who needed maternal nurturing and bonding.
This was called the Tender Years Doctrine or maternal preference doctrine.
The only time this doctrine was superseded was when there was clear evidence the mother was unfit due to child abuse, alcoholism, or mental illness.
This has changed over the years and more factors come into play in answering the question is the mother or father more likely to be granted custody of their children in Alpharetta, GA?
DOCTRINE BEHIND CHILD CUSTODY
The Tender Years Doctrine was established in 1850 and applied in the United States through most of the 20th Century. However, as the century drew to a close, some courts began to challenge the doctrine on the grounds that it was gender-based discrimination.
In 1973, a New York family court ruled the state had no compelling interest in treating parents differently based on gender.
In 1975, Illinois held that maternal preference violated the equal protection clause of its state constitution. Alabama ruled in 1981 that the Tender Years Doctrine violated the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution granting equal protection under the law.
States such as Arkansas (1987), Arizona (1988) and Nebraska (1988) followed with legislative action restricting determination of child custody based on the parent’s sex.
CHILD CUSTODY LAWS AND CONSIDERATIONS IN GEORGIA
Today, both parents have an equal right to custody of their child. Courts in Georgia operate under the doctrine of what is in the best interests of the child.
In a divorce case where custody is contested, both the mother and the father are charged with demonstrating to the court that the child’s best interests are served by awarding them custody.
Documentation is essential to proving to the court which parent should retain custody of the child. For instance, educational and medical records can be used to demonstrate consistent parental involvement and provision of care.
Alternatively, documentation can also be used to demonstrate that a parent is unfit for child custody, particularly if there is substance abuse, child abuse or family violence involved. Photos and phone and text messages can be used as evidence for this purpose.