Back in the day, moms usually were awarded custody of the kids in divorce cases, just because the courts assumed mom knew best. But nowadays, in “these troubled economic times” as they say, more moms are working, fewer dads are working, and courts are starting to award custody to stay-at-home dads (not to mention alimony). Ouch.

A new article in Working Mother magazine examines this new trend of working moms in uphill custody battles. Here’s an excerpt:

The “tender years doctrine,” a court presumption that mothers are the more suitable parent for children under 7, was abolished in most states in 1994. And, due in large part to the recession, women are poised to outnumber men in the workforce for the first time in American history. Job layoffs affecting more men than women have yielded a burgeoning crop of Mr. Moms.

“Men are now able to argue that they spend more time with the kids than their working wives do,” says veteran New York City divorce attorney Raoul Felder. “This is one of the dark sides of women’s accomplishments in the workplace—they’re getting a raw deal in custody cases, while men are being viewed more favorably.”

It’s upsetting to think that judges see moms’ employment as a negative. Any judge who’s been a mom would know that for all the hours we work, we still spend p-l-e-n-t-y of time with our kids, caring for them, cleaning the house, doing it all. Even moms with stay-at-home husbands will tell you that Mom is still Mom, doing all the bajillion things society assumes Mom will do — whether or not you have a husband caring for the kids during the day.

Did you or someone you know get the short end of the custody stick because of being a working mom? What do you think of this new trend? I’d love to hear WMAG thoughts on this.

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