Arrangements of Child custody in the US

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Sociology ・APA ・3 Sources

The choice of who should be legally responsible for looking after an individual under the age of 18 is known as child custody. The judge will decide who gets custody, and it could be a parent or a close relative. The church had a duty to care for the society's orphaned children in the 1600s, which marks the beginning of the growth and transformation of child custody agreements. In the beginning, only men were assigned the responsibility of raising the kids. Women were not permitted to own property, and this restriction also extended to child custody. However, in the 1800s, it was devised that women should be entitled to the property and children. The proposition of child custody to women was centered on the idea that childhood was a significant part of life’s development process and women played this role well. Women were thus eligible to the custody of a child in the first seven years. The doctrine of the tender years was then eliminated, and the primary caretaker rule replaced it. Over time, notable progress have occurred on the arrangement of child custody which have eventually led to the establishment of the Best Interest of the Child Standard (BICS). This arrangement stipulates that the child is to be placed in an environment which proves to be beneficial to him or her.

Child custody in the US has greatly been influenced by the cultural changes. According to Hawes & Mason (1995), a notable cultural change that significantly impacted on the child custody happen in the mid-1800s to 1900s. During this time, it became legal in America for women to own property. As a result, women were then entitled to child custody. Notably, this cultural change ushered in the tender year doctrine which later led to its legalization. The cultural change of providing women the power and freedom to take custody of the child in the early years significantly influenced the child custody legal system. Another culture; change that is evident in the current days are custody arrangements involving acceptance of same sex marriage which legally makes the child to be allowed to live with a parent who could either be bisexual, gay or even a lesbian Bauserman, 2002). The current trends concerning arrangements for child custody in the US are centered on the BICS. The arrangement does not only abide one parent or relative to be in custody, but also mean that both parents can have a joint legal or physical custody to the child (Kleinman, 2004). This could also refer to sole custody with or without visitation of the other parent.


Bauserman, R. (2002). Child adjustment in joint-custody versus sole-custody arrangements: A meta-analytic review. Journal Of Family Psychology, 16(1), 91-102.

Hawes, J., & Mason, M. (1995). From Father's Property to Children's Rights: A History of Child Custody in the United States. The American Historical Review, 100(5), 1655.

Kleinman, T. (2004). Child Protection and Child Custody. Journal Of Child Custody, 1(1), 115-126.

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