Bias in the Family: Race and Culture in Custody Disputes
Family Court Review, Vol. 55 No. 2, April 2017 213–242
Posted: 10 May 2018
Date Written: June 30, 2017
This essay examines the role of racial, ethnic, and cultural bias in custody cases. It analyzes cases where the court explicitly considered the parents’ racial, ethnic, or cultural background and cases where the court did not acknowledge these factors but where it is clear from the court’s opinion that biases influenced its decision. It then briefly describes the literature on implicit bias to demonstrate how biases may influence the assessments of custody evaluators, lawyers, and judges despite best efforts to make fair and impartial decisions. Drawing on studies suggesting that individuals can reduce their implicit biases and their effects on decision making, the essay explores individual strategies and institutional reforms to address bias in custody disputes.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation