gender bias Archives | Page 2 of 3 | Cordell & Cordell

Joseph Cordell’s article “Divorce Civil Rights” on the Huffington Post

Joseph Cordell“There is an institutional family court bias, but we can’t simply blame judges. Sure, they are human beings and have preconceptions like everyone else, but it goes much further than that. The family law industry as a whole — from attorneys to social workers — makes presumptions about men and fathers.”

That quote comes from Cordell & Cordell co-founder Joseph Cordell‘s latest Huffington Post column, “Divorce Civil Rights.”

Cordell says profiling of different groups of people based on race, age, disabilities, etc., is not permitted in society yet in continues to happen every day in family courts where cases are decided based on gender.

“This systematic discrimination happens every day but goes largely unnoticed,” Cordell writes. “The impact of the obscurity of this issue is that there is not the attention, inclination or support necessary in order for men’s rights to receive the political, social and economic momentum that is required to correct this prejudice.”

Read the full Huffington Post article,Divorce Civil Rights.”

New Hampshire Family Court Debate Fathers’ Rights

Family courts in New Hampshire are under scrutiny because some people have accused the system of discriminating against fathers and not giving them the same treatment as mothers in custody cases after divorce or separation, WMUR reports.

Recently, a man lit himself on fire outside of a Keene, New Hampshire courthouse, and in a letter he wrote that he was upset with his treatment in a custody case. While extreme, the event brought a heightened level of media attention to the issue in the state.

State Rep. Jeffrey Oligny called the man a tragic martyr, according to the news source. Oligny is a member of the National Congress for Fathers and Children, a group that is working to eliminate what they see as a long-standing bias from New Hampshire courts.

“Fathers were seen as breadwinners. Mothers were seen as child care providers, people to raise children,” Oligny explained to the news provider. “Unfortunately, the system creates a lot of conflict, and we need to take a look at that.”

According to the Florida Times-Union, the Sunshine State is also battling court room bias. Leading the fight is a Jacksonville lawyer who is rallying against what he sees as an unfair system.

“The current system turns a father into a visitor and a paycheck,” the attorney told the publication.

Single dads gaining momentum in courtrooms

Recent courtroom successes by many single fathers could show a change in attitude toward these parents in divorce and custody proceedings, Bloomberg reports.

“It’s time for us to stop assuming that single parents are always women,” Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, told the news source. “There is a visible presence now of single men caring for their kids. We didn’t see that a few decades ago.”

The attitudes seem to be changing if recent litigation is any indication. Joe Cioffi, a physician in Connecticut, recently endured a four-year struggle to win primary custody of his son after he and the child’s mother ended their relationship.

Once considered a minority, Cioffi is part of a 27.3 percent increase in American families led by single fathers, according to data from the 2010 Census. These statistics may already be out-of-date considering the growing diversity of today’s family structures, WNYC reports.

“The statistics are kind of falling behind the reality of America’s changing families and in some cases not really capturing the lived experiences of these children,” Kelly Musick, a family demographer at Cornell University, told the news source.

Huffington Post: Cordell on Fathers Rights

As the newest columnist for the Huffington Post, Cordell & Cordell co-founder Joseph Cordell writes about the unfair uphill battle men and fathers must face in family courts around the nation.

The law is supposed to protect us and treat everyone equally, Cordell writes, yet family law seems to ignore this, thus causing fathers and men to spend more time, money, and effort just to try to get to a level playing field in a family law courtroom.

“In family law, more than any other area of the law, judges have a huge amount of discretion allowing ample opportunity for biases that we all as human beings have,” Cordell writes. “One purpose of the law is to protect us from those leanings of individual judges, but once you give a judge such a wide range of discretion and decision-making then it invites that sort of bias.”

Of course, historically, the bias has worked against men. Cordell does admit there has been progress in the family law system overcoming its gender bias.

“But in order to be truly fair to both parties, courts need to be completely gender blind, which is simply not the case,” he writes.

Read the full Huffington Post article “Is The Playing Field Level For Men In The Family Court System?

Supreme Court discriminates against fathers

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the son of an American man and Mexican woman who was born in Tijuana is not entitled to U.S. citizenship, a law that many believe unfairly discriminates on the basis of gender, according to multiple reports.

Read the article “Gender Discrimination Law Upheld by Supreme Court.”

The court upheld a decision by a federal appeals court that denied citizenship to 36-year-old Ruben Flores-Villar in 2008.

The nation’s highest court was split four-to-four on the decision after Justice Elana Kagan recused herself, meaning the lower court’s decision was automatically upheld.

Flores-Villar’s parents were unmarried when he was born in Mexico, but he was largely raised by his American father in California. Federal law states that children born outside of the U.S. to an unmarried American parent are considered American citizens at birth only if the parent lived in the U.S. before the child was born.

However, the law says American mothers can transfer citizenship to their child after living in the states for a full year, while a man must prove he has lived in the U.S. for five full years after age 14. Because Flores-Villar’s father was 16 at his birth, the California court ruled that he is not a citizen.

Flores-Villar argued the policy is unlawful because there are major differences in its treatment of men and women.

However, the New York Times reports the court ruled against Flores-Villar, claiming it is constitutional to make it more difficult for a father to pass on citizenship since it is harder to confirm his relationship to the child.

Child custody laws in the U.S. also generally favor the mother, even if she is legally married to the father. Women receive primary guardianship of a child in about 70 percent of child custody cases, while less than 10 percent of all cases award primary custody to the father.