How should the courts decide custody cases that involve adoption, divorce, and single parenting? Should an abusive husband be given custody of his child? What about unwed fathers? Gay parents? How much say should young children have in court? In this text, family lawyer and historian, Mary Ann Mason, casts a harsh spotlight on these and other aspects of child custody. She argues that the legal shift to "equal treatment" of men and women has translated into parents' rights taking precedence over children's needs. Mason insists that fairness to parents must not come at the expense of children. Drawing on a wealth of legal cases and research, Mason presents a bold programme for reform that aims to change the terms of debate about child custody cases.