In Divorce, Women No Longer Have All the Power


Howard Iken


The stories go something like this: "She took the house, she took the car, and then she took my children away." For many years the process of divorce was a process heavily biased toward women, to balance out the fact that it was a man's world. Traditionally, women were considered the weaker sex. They were the sex to be protected and protected they were - when it came to divorce.

This principle was also directed embedded in the divorce law of many states. In Florida and many other states, there was a principle known as the "Tender Years Doctrine." In short, the law said the place for young children was with their mom. A man's right's to become the custodial parent was trampled on and completely ignored. Possession of the marital home usually went to the parent that received the children. Right off the bat, the initial position of the courts was to award the house and children to the mom. Though women did benefit from this system the effect was to short change 50% of the population - men.

Societal developments in the past few decades have remedied some of the power imbalances between the sexes. One of those imbalances that changed in Florida law is the legal preference for women as custodians of children. The "Tender Years Doctrine" was abolished in Florida and custody law was rewritten to be gender neutral. Judges were directed to consider certain factors in a custody determination. The Divorce Center of Tampa Bay But none of those factors mention children. In Florida, child custody law became completely balanced and both sexes gained equal rights to ask for the minor children in a divorce action.

Because of this change more men are successfully seeking custody of their children. With custody, possession of the marital home does not automatically go to the mom. Divorce Attorney Howard Iken notices more women still get custody of the children. But that will change over time now that the law is more even handed. In divorce, women no longer have all the power. Now, divorce is more even playing field and men don't automatically lose everything.


About The Divorce Center: Howard Iken is the founder and managing attorney. He represents divorce clients in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, Pinellas, Pasco, and Hernando County, Florida. For more information, call his toll free number at 1-888-4My-Divorce (1-888-469-3486). Get a free education on divorce issues by visiting




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