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Facts and fiction of shared parenting

New York dads fighting for custody of their children sometimes feel like they are facing an uphill battle. Historically, the courts tended to place children, especially when they were young, with their mothers. Fathers were supposed to content themselves with weekend visitation.

But in recent years, there has been a sea change. Courts now take into primary consideration what will be the best outcome for the minor children. According to a 2009 study by the Census Bureau on the living arrangements of kids in America, nearly half grow up without both parents sharing custodial responsibilities for them.

Consider the following facts and fictions:

-- When parents divorce, most children want to spend more time at their dad's house than they do.

-- Kids who divide their time between both parents' homes during one-third of the time do as well or better academically, psychologically, socially and behaviorally.

-- Money doesn't compensate children for having limited or no contact with their dads.

-- According to two separate Family Court Reviews done in recent years, kids of preschool age should not go more than a few days without spending time at both parents' homes, including overnight.

-- It's a fallacy to assume that toddlers or even infants are harmed by spending nights at their dad's and away from their mothers.

-- Involved fathers who share custody are more inclined to support their children and contribute toward their future university tuition.

-- Many statistical findings indicate that sharing physical custody is beneficial to the children even when their parents have contentious relationships with one another.

-- It is no longer true that public opinion favors the mother as the custodial parent over the father. Recent polls show overwhelming support for sharing residential custody of minor children between the parents.

-- Even when their parenting styles are disparate, fathers contribute equally to their children's sense of well-being.

In order to level the custodial playing field, fathers may want to retain a family law attorney to file for shared custody of their kids.

Source: American Coalition for Fathers & Children, "Shared Parenting Facts & Fiction," Dr. Linda Nielsen, Ph.D., accessed May. 15, 2015

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