Do the courts favor women? Many have been through it or have heard horror stories from their friends or co-workers. Many men will claim that the family and divorce courts are favoring women. They claim that Michigan is a women’s state when it comes to divorce, family law, custody, and paternity. At ADAM we represent only men, we do divorce and family law so we have lots of experience in this field.
There’s a lot of ways to look at what that might mean to you as someone going through a divorce or family law dispute. First of all, a good strategy is to not have a court decide your case. You’re not going to want to start down the road of litigation and picking fights, it’s much better to settle your case out of court. If it’s a custody issue and you’re the father, you have rights and what happens with custody and parenting time should be whatever you and the mother agree on. The parents should be deciding what’s going on with custody and parenting time, not the court system. That’s one way around that question of whether courts are biased. It’s good to know that approximately 98% of divorce cases settle out of court, so the name of the game is to settle out of court. Get a good attorney, prepare your case, and be ready. Once you’re ready, there probably won’t be a fight because it’s not going to go any other way, you need to work it out. The matter should be settled.
There are certainly laws that protect both men and women, and laws that are intended to be gender neutral. However, there is could be some bias just with what the factual scenario is and who you are in this situation. In other words, laws certainly tend to favor the person that has custody if there’s an issue or dispute involving children, the law favors the parent with whom the child resides full-time. That person is going to be able to get child support from the other parent and it gives them the advantage all the way around, they have custody, the other person has parenting time. Quite often women have custody, so there’s certainly some bias there, the laws slant towards the person who has custody of the children, but that doesn’t have to be the bottom line.
The final answer could be a shared custody arrangement, and you can work out whatever it is you need to work out. If there’s going to be a settlement, that all gets handled out of court and there doesn’t have to be any bias.
There are ways around looking at things that way, looking at Michigan law that way, looking at our court system that way, there’s a lot more fairness than men think. There are judges who will go out of their way to be fair to both parties, and that even become biased against women in their effort to be unbiased. They’re looking to make a decision that’s going to be reasonable. If it’s child related, they want to do what’s best for the children and come up with something that makes sense. With our experience, we’ve seen a lot of ways to avoid bias or prejudice in the courts. It requires some strategy.
Your best bet is to keep it out of court in the first place. Doing the right things at the beginning, doing the right planning. For example if it’s a divorce case, and you’re getting things started, file first, that’s one strategy to avoid bias and other problems. If it’s a custody or parenting type of issue, same thing: file first. Get it started, you’re the one in there filing the complaint instead of the one responding to the complaint, there’s a lot of advantages to that. At the beginning of family court cases, the court may sign court orders without a hearing, and it sets the stage. Filing first allows you to tell the narrative, and instead of someone writing some long thing about how bad you are and all the bad things you’ve done over the years, you are the one writing the complaint. This can be a big advantage and a meaningful way to avoid bias in the courts. You’re the one writing the complaint or the request for the court, so you set the narrative and you get to tell the court what you want them to know.