Of course these are quite difficult questions, which need to be attacked unemotionally and methodically, with logic and reason. Of course, such, for most people is rather difficult. Many people tend to the emotional, and few can be truly objective.
I wonder are your questions political, that is in terms of pitting opposing interests; or, are they true questions of right and wrong, of what's best for society? I wonder. Personally, I'm interested in what's best for society, which may not be best for the interest of individuals, or a specific group. The overall interests of society, I firmly believe should trump those of any group and/or individual interest.
All that said, I think the underlying question behind ALL of your individual questions, and the path to the answer for all of them is this:
discrimination bad; are there any societal benefits to discrimination?
If discrimination is totally and completely wrong. Then all your questions are answered; and I believe positively so for you.
Yet, if discrimination is not totally and completely wrong always, then
there are deeper truths to be sought.
I, personally, believe to the depths of my soul, that there are deeper truths to be sought.
I, also, believe, that logic
provide the way and the answer(s).
I do firmly believe that the rights of the child are greater than the rights of the parents. The question then is how does this manifest itself within present day society?
I believe in tradition. I believe in nature. I believe in nurture. I do not believe in divorce. I believe that once children are born, the obligation is not to yourselves (the parents), but to the children. I believe that supreme sacrifice s/b made.
I believe divorce is sought and granted too often, easily, and simply. I, also, believe that divorce, as well as marriage, is a societal issue, not one of individual (rights).
Marriage, Divorce and other similar issues, s/b formulated and determined regarding that which is best for the welfare of society. The welfare of children is at the heart of the welfare of society.
I believe it is the mother's natural place to nurture. Father's can, to some degree, take the place of nurturer, but only with exception. Courts should seek such "exception" in the event of divorce. If it is not existent, then a child s/b placed with the mother, as long as she exhibits natural motherly tendencies. It s/b acknowledged that such is not the case 100%; but, is overwhelmingly so. To err, would be to err in the best interest of society. The bias s/b with the mother.
but on which parent is the most mature and capable...
Mature and capable of what precisely?
nurturing, educating, financially providing, what?
Q. Will laws ever be introduced into child custody disputes which focus, not on gender, but on capabilities?
Again, what is the meaning of "capabilities".
It appears that you desire a gender neutral approach.
The question then is whether "gender neutral" is the correct approach. Of course, there is always exception; but, law is made to address the norm or the average---not, necessarily the exception.
So, I presume, for your satisfaction, "gender neutral" should become the norm. Again, the question is whether such is the correct and/or normative approach?
Going back to my premises that puts discrimination at the heart of the issue(s). I think human nature and/or the nature of humans need be examined. IMO, back to the beginning, through the evolution of man and civilization, the question to ask is what is/has been the natural
evolution and development of men, women, and homosexuals; their relationships and natural sexual order.
Are women truly naturally the nurturers; are men truly naturally the providers and protectors; is their a natural role for homosexuals?
If there is a natural order should this order be altered, manifested in a manner contrary to the natural?
How has the natural order benefited society? How has it harmed society.
One of the greatest questions:
Is homosexuality a part of the natural order? Or, is it a aberrant development?
Has homosexuality effected the natural order. If so, how? Has homosexuality been beneficial or harmful.