I frequently see negative comments about women, divorce, custody, child support and related topics online. These comments are usually things like “courts favor women,” “women waste all the child support on themselves,” “women cheat men out of their money,” “women use kids as pawns,” “women use false accusations,” and things like that. The other day, I saw a woman comment that female narcissists are worse because they use the kids as pawns in divorces. First of all, ALL narcissists are bad and use the children as pawns. Second of all, I swear women are the worst bullies of other women.
The reality is, none of those comments represent the typical woman. In fact, they don’t even represent most women. All of them can be debunked with statistics. However, those false stereotypes are widely accepted. They are used to further bully women who are trying to protect their kids from abusers. They contribute to the nonsense claim of “parental alienation” that so many abusers use when the protective parent tries to keep the children safe. They mean that many women are not getting a fair amount of child support. They mean that judges favor men in custody battles and women are pegged as using children as pawns when they are really trying to protect. They mean that a woman has to fight harder in a custody battle than an abusive man does because judges are often trying to give more men custody to even out this “unfair advantage” that women supposedly have.
Yes, women are more likely to have custody of children. But, that does not mean they are favored by the courts. There are various reasons, including the fact that many women still hold traditional roles as the children’s main care givers. Also, in many states single women automatically have custody when they give birth, so they do get an advantage there–especially if the father never tries for any visitation or custody. Many times, custody defaults because the good fathers don’t fight it or they purposely give the mother custody. Here is an article with some interesting statistics. To quote that page:
“According to DivorcePeers.com, the majority of child custody cases are not decided by the courts.
- In 51 percent of custody cases, both parents agreed — on their own — that mom become the custodial parent.
- In 29 percent of custody cases, the decision was made without any third party involvement.
- In 11 percent of custody cases, the decision for mom to have custody was made during mediation.
- In 5 percent of custody cases, the issue was resolved after a custody evaluation.
- Only 4 percent of custody cases went to trial and of that 4 percent, only 1.5 percent completed custody litigation.
In other words, 91 percent of child custody after divorce is decided with no interference from the family court system.”
So to start, many men automatically give their ex-wives custody. There is no animosity and they all feel that is best. There isn’t some man hating judge giving away kids to manipulative women.
Further statistics show that when men DO fight for custody, they usually get it–especially when they are confirmed abusers. Yes. When the court KNOWS they are abusers, they are more likely to win due to the idea that the mother might alienate the children because she doesn’t like the abuse. That insanity is real, and it is far too common. It goes back to the stereotypes I mentioned above–this idea that women are using the kids as pawns. It prevails even when it isn’t true. It goes along with the idea that women make false accusations to fool the courts. That too is proven untrue. False accusations are very, very rare. Here is an article that I think is essential reading for everyone. It shows just how bad our courts are. To quote this article:
“Child sexual abuse allegations in custody cases are rare (about 6%), and the majority of allegations are substantiated (2/3).”
“Abusive parents are more likely to seek sole custody than nonviolent ones…and they are successful about 70% of the time.”
So when it comes down to impressing a judge? Men are more likely to win, especially if they are abusive. There is definitely not any favoritism towards women there. The myth that courts are unfair to men actually works in their favor when they are abusers. (Stop perpetuating that myth!)
As for the child support, I think the huge majority of us can say we struggle and we are not living it up with the child support we get. There are studies about this too. They show that even when men pay support, they end up better off because they aren’t missing work and promotions to take care of the kids. Women who get divorced take a financial hit for years. Is it worth it? Of course. But we can’t deny that our bosses are mad when we call off to stay home with a sick child or when we can’t put in that 80 hour week because we want to see our kids.
Narcissists ruin lives. Abusers ruin lives. Courts love abusers.
Courts are not favoring women, and when custody battles go to court, men are more likely to win. Women aren’t making up false accusations to wrangle custody in manipulative ways. Women aren’t getting rich on child support. These horrible people do exist, but they are a teeny tiny portion of women. If people continue to stereotype all women with these ideas that women are sly and manipulative, it is dangerous, and adds to the horrible family court atmosphere that favors abusers. When you make comments saying women are using kids as pawns, you are usually wrong, but you are contributing to the bigger picture that harms abused women and their children.