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? Full-time working mothers? How much say should young children have in court? Family lawyer and historian Mary Ann Mason here casts a harsh spotlight on these and other thorny aspects of contemporary 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. Fairness to parents must not come at the expense of children, Mason insists. Drawing on a wealth of legal cases and researchas well as the stories of families caught in these disputesshe presents a bold program for reform that is certain to change the terms of debate on one of the most highly charged topics on the national agenda.