Child custody and the push towards equal time

Parents who make the decision to divorce are often guilt-ridden, believing their decision may negatively impact a child's happiness and emotional development. However, many divorces are preceded by months or even years of arguing which adversely impacts every household member. As such, the decision to divorce often brings positive changes to the lives of both parents and children. That being said many parents, and children, struggle to come to an agreeable consensus when it comes to child custody arrangements.

When determining custody arrangements, judges often tend to favor mothers. However, fathers' rights advocates are quick to point out that research shows that children who spend equal time with each parent tend to fare better both emotionally and academically.

For many parents, especially divorced parents, working outside the home is necessary. As such, gone are the days when the majority of mothers stayed home to raise and tend to children while fathers were regarded as breadwinners. This and other gender role changes have resulted in many disputing that, when possible, joint custody is the most beneficial arrangement for both the child and the parents.

While some states have passed or are considering measures that encourage the courts to award equal child custody, there are a number of factors that must be considered. For example a child's age, participation in extra-curricular activities and the proximity of both parents’ residences are all matters that must be weighed when determining a custody agreement. Likewise, it's important that both parents are able to communicate and act in a civil manner towards one another, especially in a child's presence. 

In the coming years, it's likely that matters related to fathers' rights and child custody will gain even more attention. We'll continue to cover such matters as additional states attempt to determine what's ultimately best for a child as well as his or her parents.

Source: NPR, "Push To Change Custody Laws: What's Best For Kids?," Jennifer Ludden, Feb. 26, 2014

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