Here is a thesis for you.
What if the legal system is an engine, one of many, which helps maintain a tiered social structure of a type which is often, and fallaciously, called a patriarchy? It's not a patriarchy, because women participate fully. Especially in the family courts. It is just a common or garden primate power structure.
There are alpha males, and there are the rest of them. The females all look for good breeding partners. In a minor refinement of that search, many females are more attracted to unreliable males, i.e. alphas, for genetic material, but look for betas when it comes to keeping house and raising the offspring. (I should reference this, but frankly, I can't be bothered. Actually, I should put references all over this post, but, hey go and buy some Richard Dawkins, or something.).
Once a female has young to raise, and is safely ensconced in a socially acceptable marriage she is, effectively, out of the breeding pool, even while still quite fertile and potentially attractive to males other than her husband. Unless, that is, she cheats, or gets divorced. And those are the routes by which the alpha males will exploit them for further procreation.
Cheating carries a certain risk of discovery, especially now in this enlightened age of DNA testing. Not only that, but it's known that children tend to look more like their fathers when young, in a nod to his need to reassure himself that the brat is indeed his.
Commonly, a discovery might push the betrayed marriage into a divorce anyway. That vainglorious institution is now refined to make sure that the poor, kicked-out beta continues to be liable for paying for the children's care, as opposed to doing some of it personally, while pretty young mom is free for fresh tillage. And let us note that every mom is supposed to be a pretty young mom if she can only buy the right stuff, apply the right cosmetics and ditch the lame jerk who's holding her back.
But we should not forget that divorce, also, is a means for a trapped alpha male to escape back into the, er, swing of things, assuming he has the means to cover whatever child support he ends up liable for and isn't too cut up about being forced to let mom do whatever she wants with the kids.
In fact, let's face it, divorce, for all its superficially intended good side in ending unsuitable marriages, actually best suits those who just want to escape responsibility. That's not to say that everyone who chooses divorce is like that, I'm just saying that it is the jerks who will suffer least or benefit most, male or female.
Back to these divorcing moms. There they are leaping out again into the fray of singledom in the conviction that now hubby's put in his place, all will be hunky dory forever more. Well, until next time.
The truth is, of course, that only a small, even negligible number of such moms will attract ever greater swarms of alpha suitors before her fertility, which by and large equates to beauty, is spent. Then she gets to join the mass who end up saddled with fatherless children, working full time to buy that all that stuff I mentioned before, because the child support can never, ever be enough, and complaining over the garden fence about how useless is her ex.
What has she actually done? She has swelled the ranks of the disempowered - her ex by destroying his fatherhood and tying him down financially, her kids by converting their father into a visiting uncle, teaching them the undesirability of his beta-ness, and herself by destroying the team by which she might have helped to enrich all of them.
This might sound like I'm blaming her, but I have to point out that unless she is of considerably above average intelligence, she's probably as blinded by her own limited horizons and the constant flood of crap to which she is exposed as are the rest of us, and can't see how she's gotten as much manipulated into this situation as she has chosen it for herself.
So who benefits from the swollen ranks of marching morons? The powerful, of course, which is another kind of the alpha male and his female equivalent. Now, I could go off into all kinds of politically inspired screeds about oppression of the masses, but my point is to keep us focussed on the anthropological fact that we are, ultimately, all marching morons. Stupid little monkeys playing "if you show me yours, I'll show you mine" games with precious little thought for the inevitable bawling, needy, inconvenient consequences. Your typical silverback sitting at the bench in his or her wig presiding over the destruction of your family isn't thinking in terms of consolidating his or her power. Well, not over you, anyway.
But, and it is an important but, the "alpha male" as an identifiable example of the human animal is largely a mythological creature, likewise the alpha female. Bruce Willis is real, and gets into all kinds of human trouble, John Maclane does not actually, in point of fact, much as we'd like to believe otherwise, no matter how much we'd love to be his best buddy or have his kids by the dozen, exist.
Likewise, it is a self-evident fact that Kirsten Dunst is a complete bimbo in real life, no matter how much Spiderman would just love to tie up Mary Jane Watson in his web and have lots of little baby spiders. (Ew. Try not to think about that too much, eh?)
But I digress.
My point is, we all try to be our own ideas of alpha males and alpha females, looking for ways to climb on the backs of others and, er, better ourselves in the process. Some of us make it, to some extent, some of us don't. But we all participate in the process. We use our archetypes to assess desirability and develop value structures. The patriarchy is one such archetype, but frequently falsely imagined and identified. The alpha male/female thing seems likely to be much more fruitful.
How did I get onto this? I found an article about a "scientific" study of pickup lines which was pretty much as superficial as you'd expect, but provoked me to apply fingers to keyboard when I encountered this claim:
"A scenario in which a potential suitor chides drunken louts who cut in line won the hearts of female subjects in all personality categories."Isn't this what a judge does? Chides the louts? So what's the difference between him and the potential suitor impressing the ladies through his grave and sober non-loutiness? Can we not extend this into an examination of his status as an alpha male asserting his huge, throbbing, um, alpha to keep all the other apes in line? Can we not further generalize the scenario to an archetypal alpha, of unspecified gender, maintaining the status quo and their position in a sector of society where the females hold considerable power by keeping the rest of us sniveling apes in line?
Hence the judge in a family court curries favor in a system which is biased towards women and mothers by chiding and punishing the men, whether they deserve it or not. Does anyone really think it's got anything to do with the sanctimony of the law any more?