Summary Of The 1979 Film: Kramer Vs. Kramer

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In the 1979 film Kramer vs. Kramer (directed by Robert Benton from a novel of the same name), workaholic Ted Kramer (portrayed by Dustin Hoffman) is tasked with taking care of his adolescent son after his wife abruptly leaves the pair. Initially, the relationship between the father and son is strained because of Ted's decision to choose work over his family, and the child's strong attachment to his mother. Eventually, the mother returns and seeks sole custody of the child; the judge awards custody to the mother based on the assumption set by not only legal precedence but ingrained social beliefs as well (Benton , 1979). Initially, child custody under the Tender Years Doctrine awarded custody to the mother based on the perception of a father's lack of ability to provide nurture for the child. Eventually, men would begin to challenge this intrinsically sexist philosophy that existed as part of a social and cultural bias. A school of…show more content…
The history of the legalities of child custody reflects not only the evolution of the laws but the shift in social ideologies. Today, child custody cases continue to evolve due to the restructuring of the nuclear family. From the Tender Years Doctrine to the primary caretaker rule that tried to quantify the time each parent spent with their children, matters involving child custody have been malleable and changing as time progresses. Although there are instances of bias in certain cases, strides have been made to create a comprehensive set of laws that are impartial and just. Objective reasoning is slowly replacing built-in biases; for instance, gender, as well as race, are slowly becoming non-factors in deliberations. The well-being of the child is paramount, and the parent seeking custody has to be found capable enough to support the child emotionally as well as

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