Many people believe that mothers are more likely to be awarded custody, but this simply isn’t true. This myth likely gets its roots in older laws that have since been abolished.
For example, around the beginning of the 20th century, the state of Maryland had a law stating that it was the father who was to get preference in a custody situation because he was the one being held primarily responsible for the financial support and physical well-being of the children. Later custody rulings set a precedent that the mother would have preference – on a temporary basis – when young children were involved because she was likely the primary caretaker. However, in 1974, just two years after the Equal Rights Amendment was passed, Maryland did away with this preference, stating that “in any custody proceeding, neither parent shall be given preference solely because of his or her sex.”
While there may be no preference towards mothers or fathers in Maryland, it is true that there are more single custodial mothers than single custodial fathers. However, in many cases, this can be attributed to other factors instead of a maternal preference. In many situations, the father agrees to the mother getting sole custody and doesn’t attempt to fight for custody in the courts because he believes it is a losing battle. In fact, approximately 91 percent of custody cases are resolved through mediation or mutual agreement without any interference from the family courts.
If you are a father going through any type of custody issue with your children, it is crucial that you understand that you have equal rights. Remember, courts award custody based on the best interests of the children, not due to either parent’s gender. If you have questions about your specific case or want to learn more about fathers’ rights in Maryland, consider contacting an experienced family law attorney.