A 2018 study report on court decisions in child custody cases concluded that there is a great imbalance between the percentage of custody decisions favoring female parents and male parents. The research data revealed that custody awards vary in extremes from one U.S. State to the next when divided along parental gender lines. In fact, on the national average, a female parent is granted around 65% of custody time, whereas a male parent receives around 35%.
Numerous States award shared custody, with both female and male parents each granted a full 50% of the time with their children. Among those states are Virginia, Massachusetts, Nevada, Wisconsin, Colorado, Florida, and others, some of which border Utah. However, Utah ranks far below these States in the outcomes of its custody cases, in terms of an equitable distribution of custody awards between female and male parents.
National Disparity in Child Custody Orders
Even when factoring in the approximately 20 States that grant 50/50 shared custody time between fathers and mothers, per the U.S. national average, men receive about 54% of the custody time that women are granted. That’s slightly over half the time that women receive custody.
In many states, such as Utah, Kansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Idaho, and others, the ratios of custody awards between female and male parents are extremely out of balance. For example, in Utah men are awarded only 26% of custody time and women receive 74%. These percentages put Utah in the bottom 13 states, in terms of balance in the State’s ratio of child custody awards.
Michigan, North and South Carolina, and Arkansas, among others ranked slightly higher than Utah, Maryland, Montana, and others. Tennessee is the lowest ranking state in the study results, with 78.2% of the State’s custody decisions favoring female parents and just 21.8% ranks highest in its courts’ ratio of outcomes in which the vast share of custody time goes to the female parent.
How Custody Time Statistics Affect Families
Here we see how custody awards actually impact parents’ and children’s time spent together. The examples expose vast differences between States that grant equal custody time to male and female parents and those that award much more custody time to one gender of parents than the other:
- In Connecticut, Maine, New Mexico, and Vermont, with parenting time divided equally among male and female parents, each parent spends about 182.5 days each year with their children.
- In Texas, with just 33% of parent time allotted to male parents, fathers are awarded only about 120.5 days each year with their children, whereas mothers receive about 245 days.
- As for here in Utah, with only around 26% of custody time awarded to parents of the male gender, dads get about 95 days per year with their children, and mothers get about 270 days.
- In the State with the worst balance in its ratio of custody awards by gender, Tennessee, a mere 21% of custody time is granted to male parents. This means that mothers in that state receive 285 days per year with their kids, whereas fathers have only about 80 days with them.
National Data for Child Custody Awards Per Parent Gender
The custody percentages calculated for individual States in the national research study reportedly reflect only those cases in which both parents in the divorce are seeking child custody and there are no significant obstacles to shared custody. This means that the data do not reflect outcomes of cases in which circumstances like drug abuse, domestic abuse, criminal convictions, or other impactful factors are weighed in the court’s judgments. The statistics for the States only indicate the most typical parent-time schedules accepted/ordered by the court.
The research was conducted by CustodyXChange, a well-established parent time management software manufacturer. The study, per the company, is based on nationwide interviews with legal professionals and does not include customer data.
National Trend Toward Equal Parent Time
Utah, among other States, has begun to award more parent time to divorced men in recent years. In the past few years, legislatures in 20 States have been considering legislative changes in order to foster increased opportunities for shared custody, per a Washington Post report (2017). The CustodyXChange report confirmed that the same 40% of States persist in pursuit of laws to grant equal custody. (2021)
If you are facing a child custody case, you are advised to hire the best child custody lawyer Utah has available to you, to serve your child’s best interest and make sure all your parental rights are protected.
Child Custody Attorney in Salt Lake City
Attorney David Pedrazas has been helping people with divorce, child custody and other family law matters in Utah for over 20 years. He has been voted as Top 10 Attorneys in Salt Lake City, UT by the National Academy of Family Law Association and has been widely recognized as one of Salt Lake City’s preferred divorce lawyers by the American Academy of Trial Attorneys and the American Institute of Family Law.