Does the family law system really favour women over men?
Throughout western culture and via several legal paradigms there is an entrenched belief that the family law system defaults to take the side of women over men. This is because of historical issues of domestic abuse, infidelity and child neglect that have been somewhat characterised as male issues.
This allegedly results in courts, even if the men are innocent of any criminal wrongdoing, siding with women in cases of property settlement and child custody. The stereotype of a man losing his finances and children to his ex-wife is popularised in pop culture and has created the belief we are addressing.
But how true is this in reality? Let’s take a look at how the family law system treats men and women.
The biggest factor that makes people believe the family law system is biased against men is the way in which men and women have different earning abilities. This is because many women end their careers to get married and have children, making it harder for them to get back to work following a divorce.
Where the man is the primary breadwinner, he usually doesn’t take a break from his career to raise children like women do. While this isn’t true in all marriages, it is traditional enough that it forms a trend we see in family courtrooms.
Therefore we assume women get more in property settlement because the courts favour women when in reality it’s a way of balancing the fact the women will struggle to re-enter the workforce. Therefore its logical that women receive more than 50% of marital assets when they have sacrifice their ability to earn an independent income.
In traditional family arrangements where the man is the primary breadwinner it is expected that the woman is the primary caretaker of children. This means that while the man is making financial contributions to the welfare of the children, the women is contributing through housework, supervision, taking them to and from school and general care.
This explains why women are favoured in cases of child custody, especially for very young children who are used to being taken care of predominately by their mothers. While men should not have less time with their children because they were still working, it is an undeniable factor when considering particularly acrimonious divorce issues in the family courtroom.