Young v. Hector
740 So. 2d 1153 (Fla. 3d DCA 1998)
- At the time of their marriage in 1982, both the father and mother were successful professionals in New Mexico.
- Father was an architectural designer / entrepreneur and mother was an attorney.
- They became the parents of two daughters born in 1985 and 1988.
- After the birth of their children, both parents continued to work outside of the home and pursued their respective professional endeavors with the assistance of a live-in nanny.
- They later agreed to move to Miami after the father’s business began to suffer and the mother became bored with her practice.
- Once in Miami, the mother began to have serious discussions (which eventually escalated into arguments) about the father’s need to find gainful employment.
- Instead, he never got a job, and from 1990-1993, was frequently out of the state and away from the family (brother was ill, took care of some things in NM, went on a treasure hunt).
- They had a live-in nanny during this time as well.
- When the father finally returned to South Florida, in the fall of 1993, the mother had accepted a partnership position with a large Florida law firm at a salary of approximately $300,000 annually.
- That year she asked the father for a divorce. After this, the father spent less of his time away from the family, but remained unemployed.
- Father claimed he was “Mr. Mom.”
The trial court awarded custody of both kids to the mother.
- The court stated, “Maybe I’m missing something. Why don’t you get a job?”
- Father replied that architecture nowadays is all computerized and he was computer illiterate.
- It was also skeptical that he was Mr. Mom when they had a nanny.
- The father argued that the court engaged in impermissible gender bias.
Whether the trial court abused its discretion when it determined that the best interests of the two minor children dictated that their mother be designated their primary custodial parent.
- In recommending that the mother be named the primary custodial parent, the guardian ad litem cited three factors:
- The guardian noted that the mother had been the more economically stable of the two parents throughout the marriage;
- The mother had been a constant factor and dominant influence in the children’s lives and the father had not; and
- The mother’s superior ability to control her anger around the children.
- The court felt that the trial court decision was supported by substantial competent evidence and held that there was no abuse of discretion.
- Clearly gender bias – if facts were reversed and father was the attorney and mother was the stay at home architect, father would’ve been “laughed out of court” if he sought custody.
- Additionally, no one would question why a woman wasn’t working if her husband was making $300,000.
- Mother also acquiesced in father staying at home.