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Which parent is more likely to be granted sole custody-Mom or Dad?

Today, I’m still answering one of the top ten questions asked by parents going through a divorce.

Historically, some courts did follow the tender years doctrine which meant that there was a preference for Moms over Dads with respect to custody of children in a divorce. This applied to young children under the age of four.

However, the tender years doctrine was abolished and as far back as 1989 there were studies being done that showed that Fathers who actively sought custody obtained either sole or joint physical custody over 70% of the time.

In Missouri, there is no preference for Mothers over Fathers and the court uses eight factors with respect to determining custody of children. Those eight factors have nothing to do with who is the Mother or who is the Father.

In over 16 years of practice exclusively in the area of family law I can also tell you that I have had just as many Dads end up with sole custody as I have had Moms. So, my experience tells me that courts are not looking at your gender but more at your past history with respect to parenting, your wishes, your spouse’s wishes, the child’s wishes, and the parenting relationship between the two of you.