As a father going through a divorce, you are probably worried about child custody issues. Fortunately, fathers’ rights have become more favorable to men recently.
Here is how fathers’ rights have changed in the recent past.
Previous approaches to child custody
Current state laws are a lot more friendly toward fathers. However, that has not always been the case. You have probably heard the saying, “the mother always gets custody.” That is because this was the case for many years.
Before the 1970s, mothers almost always got sole custody of their children in a divorce. Meanwhile, fathers were only expected to contribute to their children financially. As a result, child custody battles rarely happened. Instead, mothers typically got the benefit of the doubt.
Today’s child custody
A shared approach to child custody is a much more common choice for families divorcing today. It shows how most people have changed their way of thinking. It is also significantly better for children.
Further, today the law directs parties to prioritize the child’s best interests above all else. In other words, it does not assume that a mother will be the primary caregiver or that a father should only see a child for a small amount of time unless such arrangements support what is best for the child.
Why this change happened
Over the years, researchers have done numerous studies on what type of arrangement is best for children when parents divorce. The consensus is that it is generally best for children to have ongoing, frequent and meaningful contact with both parents after divorce.
The benefits to children of parents who share parenting responsibilities and time after a divorce reportedly include:
- Having better relationships with both parents
- Performing better in school
- Experiencing less stress and depression
- Being less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs
- Having a higher self-esteem
When parents see how tremendously a child can benefit from spending time with both parents after a split, it can be easier for them – and the courts – to prioritize a more balanced approach to custody.
While these changes indeed work in favor of fathers and parents who value shared parenting, it can still be a complicated process. As such, having legal guidance to help you navigate these issues and seek a fair outcome can be crucial.