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It is illegal to use race as a factor when determining custody

by | Nov 20, 2018 | Divorce

When deciding how to divide custody, courts consider a lot of different factors. These often include the age of the children, their relationships with the parents, the mental and physical health of those parents, the living situation and related factors — like what school the children will go to — and the children’s own wishes.

One thing that courts cannot use is race. Just as workers have protection from racial discrimination in the workplace, it cannot be used to determine who should get custody of a child or how custody should be altered and modified in the future.

The case that set this precedent went before the Supreme Court. In that instance, a Caucasian man and woman had split up, with the son going with his mother. She then got married again, this time to an African-American man. They moved to a new neighborhood that was home to mostly African-American families.

The father did not approve of that living situation for his son, and he asked for the custody order to be modified. At first, the court in Florida allowed it. However, the Supreme Court then stepped in and said that race cannot be the primary reason to change custody. That precedent still stands today.

As you can see, it is very important to consider past cases and the ways in which they may define divorce laws moving forward. Make sure you are well aware of your legal rights. If they’re ever violated, then you know it is time to look into all the other options you have. An experienced attorney can offer advice and guidance.