Any decisions concerning children are important to parents when they are going through a divorce. Although each parent has their own ideas regarding which custody arrangement is best, the most important determination is what is best for the children.
A recent article regarding fathers in divorce highlights many of the changes in expectations and rights of fathers compared to how things used to be. Traditionally fathers would receive visitation on weekends and pay child support, while the mother would retain primary custody. Many states have attempted to eliminate these biases against fathers and grant them more custody time through equal parenting time statutes and presumptions of equal parenting unless circumstances warrant otherwise. Additionally, child support obligations have begun to be lessened as fathers are granted greater custody rights and the incomes of both parents are being taken into account.
Traditionally, mothers were granted an inherent bias when it came to child custody arrangements. They were often granted primary physical custody of the children because they were the mother. In such arrangements, the fathers' rights would include visitation and the retention of legal custody, providing decision-making rights regarding the education, health care and religion of the children. However, neither parent should have an advantage over the other without the best interest of the children being taken into account.
To make such a determination, there are many factors to consider. Among them is the health of the parents, the need for a stable home environment, excessive alcohol or narcotic use by a parent or possible abuse by either parent. Based on the consideration of each of these factors, a court can determine what custody arrangement is best for the children.
Each parent should have an equal opportunity at being granted custody of his or her children pursuant to a divorce. Parents who are seeking a divorce should be aware of the potential custody arrangements that may be ordered and their rights and responsibilities in each. A family law attorney can help them through this process.
Source: ABC 27 WTXL, "Dads In Divorce: Now More Than Just A Wallet," Howard Iken, Dec. 18, 2013