Monday, October 22, 2007
Sex Bias in Custody Disputes
I have a great deal of male clients and one of their common questions when they are in midst of a child custody dispute is whether or not the courts can take into consideration their sex in determining where their children should primarily reside. In Florida, the determination of child custody statute, Fl.Stat. 61.13(2)(b)1 specifically states that, after considering all relevant facts, the father of the child shall be given the same consideration as the mother in determining the primary residence of a child irrespective of the age or sex of the child. Therefore, the short answer to the question is no. Therefore, it is important for Judge's to look at the totality of the circumstances and the best interests of the children, regardless of whom is seeking primary residential care, in a custody determination. If it is clear that a Judge denies a father primary residential responsibility simply because he is a man, this is reversible error, and very much something that is open to appeal.