Child custody refers to that parent that has the greatest rights to the child and it could either be one parent or both of them sharing the rights. Laws about that are the decree or legal affirmation that give parents right to visit in case of sole custody or in matters of joint custody of a child.
At the Start (1630 to 1830):
Child custody laws have gone through a lot of change throughout the century, having evolved with humanity. The colonial times, which was 1630 to 1830, had laws that were very lax, underdeveloped, and generally inclined to the male figure.
Opinion about children was brutish and they were considered in terms of their value as laborers. So, in accordance with that, upon the death of parents or mothers turning widowers, they were given to anyone who could provide for them and extract manual labor in return as payment.
Otherwise, the father was assumed as the head of the household and held complete custody of the child.
During the 19th Century:
In the 19th century, opinions changed, and judges started to think about the child’s best interests when determining who would gain his/her custody.
During this, time mothers started to be preferred to be given custody to as they were seen as tender and caring while fathers were not
considered fit to take care of the child.
This maternal presumption wasn’t a just public opinion, it was developed through legislator actions too as the “Tender Years Doctrine” was introduced.
It stated that while the custodial debate was going on for a child, that the child should be placed with the mother in the interim and even at the end, mothers were mostly the preferred guardians of the child.
In the early 20th Century:
As the early 20th century rolled by, divorces become more widespread and common and so had cases regarding child custody. Though then, women’s personal lives in terms of their sexual relations no longer had the ability to subdue her right to raise her own child.
The double standards that were applied to a father and mother’s sexual conduct no longer existed. In light of this, a new rule was made that stated that,
“When the child was of tender years, provided other things were equal in determining the right of custody was equal between the father or mother, the mother was to be preferred especially if the child was a girl even if the mother had been fallible in the past as there was no way to prove that the mother was delinquent during the time the matter was being judged in the court.”
In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, the number of divorce cases being presented in court for child custody increased dramatically. At this time, the previous presumption that had been granted to mothers was questioned.
The Best Interest’ rule was changed to encompass all aspects of child care and the decision made with no regard towards the gender of the parent.
Now other what would be best for the child financially and emotionally, the environment where he would grow up was to be evaluated too and custody cases got more complicated than just money and character. If you need an attorney, click here.
This rule albeit limited through our understanding governs all child custody cases and assures us that only the best decision is taken when determining which of the parents obtain what rights to the child.