With the separation and subsequent divorce of the parents, this has led to a serious contestation regarding the custody of a child or children. Back in the 20th century, the father was the automatic choice for custody of the child or children; however, this practice was changed as the courts realized the role of the mothers as a primary caregiver for the family.By leaving the child solely to the father or the mother, this not only affects the child in a serious way, but also burdens the parent who then has to provide for the child or children. Recent years has seen the courts trying to lay more emphasis on the interests and needs of the minor child rather than on the rights of the parents.What parents don’t understand or perhaps don’t acknowledge is that a child is free to go to his or her father or mother while they are in the custody of either parent. The responsibilities are also not given entirely to one parent but are a shared effort by both parents.Mothers of the 20th century were often educationally backward and most were economically weak making them disadvantaged to their spouses who were more often then not, highly educated bread-winners. The women’s rights movement has changed things for women considerably as it gained momentum in various parts of the world and a growing awareness among women regarding their right to education, right to vote, right to work and in effect, right over the child.Today, courts are frequently encouraging parents to share or split responsibilities when it comes to their children and supporting the child economically, especially after a divorce. Doing this helps to create a healthy atmosphere for the child or children in which she or he would not be forced to leave one parent and live the rest of their lives with the other parent.Although they should not, economic factors should not be criteria in deciding the fate of a child or children as they are in a much more emotionally vulnerable position than the parents. A separation and divorce of the parents is probably going to lead to the separation of the child from one of the parents.Depending on the age of the child, they are in no position to decide where to live or what to do with their lives. The parents, no matter how difficult it is for them to deal with their problems, need to give a serious thought to the emotional and mental health of their child or children. A lot of times, a child of divorce becomes a mere pawn in the ego clash between the husband and wife and ends up being neglected.More times than not, the fight over child custody become a battle between the parents to prove who the better parent is or who the worse parent is. The courts need to step in when these things get out of control and work out a way that is best suited for the emotional growth of the child as well as the mental peace of the parents.