The Backlash! - May 1995

Organization News - Fathers' Rights & Equality Exchange 701 Welch Rd. #323 Palo Alto, CA 94304 (415) 853-6877

"The hypocrisy of 'equality' in a family law context"

Maternal bias in custody matters - Conclusion

by Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Copyright 1991 by Anne P. Mitchell

Much of the inequities that exist in our family court system are the result of the ingrained, personal biases of the people who work within the system, and who apply the rules. Judges and other legal professionals carry with them a bias which serves to undermine the (sometimes) equitable intent of the laws and rules under which they operate. They may not even be consciously aware of the bias which influences their decisions and recommendations, although in some cases it is clear that they are not only aware of their bias, but they seem to wave it as a banner.

Once recognizing the bias, we can start to work at correcting the imbalance which it has perpetuated, just as is done with any other discriminatory bias which has wronged the peoples of our society. Perhaps the most important factor in this case will be the educating of those who make the decisions: the judges, the lawyers, the psychologists and social workers. Harder will be the task of educating society in general, as for so many years we have been intently trying to rectify the inequities in how women are treated. Any move towards swinging the pendulum of preference back towards an equitable middle-stance will be perceived as a step backwards for the cause of women.

Be that as it may, work at it we must, until the answer to both of these questions is a resounding "yes":

Are men who land in our nation's family courts entitled to be judged by the same standards as the women who sit opposite them?

Are those men in fact afforded such equal treatment?

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