A recent visitor to Family Lore found their way here by googling the term "why do courts favour mothers when it comes to making residency orders?" Statistically, this is true, but there is no bias written into the law, as I have stated on more than one occasion previously. So why is it? Well, for the sake of an objective analysis I will assume that the courts are not simply biased (an assumption that I know some will find hard to accept), so here are my thoughts:
1. For obvious reasons, courts are likely to favour mothers where the child is very young, and when the child is a girl entering puberty. This can also mean that the mother will be granted residence of the other children, as courts do not generally like to separate siblings.
2. There are often practical reasons favouring mothers, the most common of which is work. The father is more likely to be working longer hours, and therefore in a worse position to look after the children.
3. (A controversial one.) Mothers may more often possess better parenting skills than fathers - certainly this is a common perception, which may or may not be true.
4. The ascertainable wishes of the child are, of course, an important factor, especially where the child is older. Do children favour mothers? I'm not aware of any statistics for this - perhaps a CAFCASS officer could provide an answer.
5. The risk of harm to the child is another factor, and I would suggest that this is more likely to go against the father than the mother, as there is probably a greater fear of harm by fathers than mothers.
6. Lastly, economic reasons mean fathers are more likely to leave the family home than mothers and therefore their having residence would involve a change of circumstances, giving fathers an extra hurdle to overcome if they are to get residence.
As usual, I am open to other suggestions.