Fathers win custody battles too

NZ Herald August 14, 2007
Fathers are now just as likely as mothers to win a custody battle for their children if they start the legal fight, latest figures show. Family Court statistics for 2005, released yesterday, show that most of what are now called “day-to-day care” parenting orders are still awarded to mothers. But most orders also go to whoever applies for them, whether they are mums or dads. Mothers end up getting more orders in their favour only because they are more likely to apply for them.The figures straddle the introduction of the new Care of Children Act in July 2005, which changed the terminology from custody to day-to-day care. Women lodged 68 per cent of the applications for custody of children in the last six months of the old law, and gained 69 per cent of the custody orders. In the first six months of the new law, the proportion of applications for day-to-day care lodged by women dropped to 64 per cent, while the proportion lodged by men increased from 26 per cent to 30 per cent.