For decades, family courts in Missouri and around the country started child custody proceedings with the assumption that mothers were the best caretakers for their children. The fathers’ rights movement was created largely to combat this bias. Men who want to remain active in the lives of their children after divorce are not asking for special treatment, just equal treatment.
To combat mother bias (or any bias for that matter), a number of states are passing or considering legislation that would change the way courts approach child custody decisions. Rather than presuming that custody should automatically go to mothers or that one parent (of either gender) should have sole custody, an increasing number of courts are presuming from the beginning that shared custody is in the best interests of children.