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Antiquated child custody laws unfair to men and women

In Washington, parenting plans are created with the best interests of the children in mind. The courts should consider a variety of factors, including the amount of time both parents spend with the children, each parent's potential for future wage earning and the children's relationship with each parent.

In reality, men often need to fight harder to receive the same rights during child custody battles that their female counterparts receive automatically. According to a recent article in the Huffington Post, the notion that women automatically know how to be good parents just because they are females puts "unfair expectations on women [and] minimizes the role of men in the rearing of a child."

Although many people might assume that stereotype antiquated, gender biases often play a role in family law courts.

Regardless of the gender stereotypes individuals may hold, studies unequivocally support the notion that children should be raised by two parents. Research shows that children who are raised by only one parent are more likely to commit drug crimes.

Unfortunately, the stereotypes many people hold are unfair both parents. An article in the Huffington Post suggested that people stereotype men as being "inattentive, emotionally distant and poor caretakers" and women as being "inherently skilled at caretaking,...attentive to the emotional needs of her children, or a more nurturing parent by virtue of her uterus."

In actuality, parenting skills are formed based on the skills and experiences individual's have, not their genders. However, when courts overlook actual parenting skills in favor of gender stereotypes, women are given unfair burdens and men's rights are taken away.

Source: Huffington Post, "The "Y" Factor: Gender Bias, Child Custody And The Great Parenting Myth," David T. Pisarra, 28 March 2011

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