Gender Preference in Child Custody Cases

How Long Does a Divorce Take

Gender Preference in Child Custody cases is an important aspect of family law in Oklahoma.  It’s a legal rumor that mothers always get custody of their children.  In the past, certain doctrines have preferred the mother.  However, fathers who assert their rights can receive custody as well.  In fact, courts have explicitly made a move away from preferring the mother and now prefers what is best for the child.

Gender Preference in Custody

Tender Years Doctrine

Courts in the past, operated under the “Tender Years” Doctrine.  This doctrine placed children under the age of 10 with the mother every time.  In order to place children with the father, the mother must have extreme issues:  drug addiction, proven and excessive abuse, abandonment, etc.  For a father to overcome this doctrine of gender preference in custody his burden of proof to the courts was extremely high and nearly un-provable.

Current Law

The Courts today use the standard of “the best interests of the child(ren)”.  You can see this reflected in the law under Title 43 §112.  You will be subject to several different factors in today’s courts instead of gender preference in custody.

  1. Quality time and the amount the parent has for the child.
  2. Stability of the home.
  3. Willingness of custodial parent to allow the non-custodial parent to spend time with the child.
  4. Willingness of custodial parent to foster positive relationships with extended family members.


As you can see, gender is not a part of this list.  Further, the courts may not consider factors like private schooling vs public schooling, or age of children.  All of this is movement toward equality for fathers in making custody arrangements.

OKC Child Custody Attorneys

Our OKC family law attorneys understand that even if after a divorce or separation, the battle for custody may rage on.  While in the past, gender preference in custody could matter, it does not anymore.  We understand that this could seriously affect your case.  Your first consultation is free.  Call our offices today for legal support. 405-367-8710