Newly Proposed Laws Seek to Enhance Father's Rights

Going through a divorce can be a painful and difficult process, especially when children are involved. The physical and legal custody arrangements regarding the child will be determined according to what is in the child's best interests. Historically, this determination has favored mothers over fathers and granted them with physical custody, while leaving fathers with visitation rights. New laws and advances in society are seeking to do away with such an advantage and enhance father's rights in general.

Over 25 percent of children are currently being raised by just one parent, and many fathers don't feel like they have adequate parenting rights. Lawmakers in another state are proposing changes to keep that from happening. They feel that laws governing parenting plans and custody decisions are out of date and don't match the realities of divorce in modern society. They also feel that judges should be held more accountable for their decisions. The proposed changes would allow each parent to spend 45 percent of the year with their child, and any exceptions to that right would require sufficient explanation from the judge presiding over the decision.

Under Georgia state law, both parents are encouraged to be involved in their child's life. In the past, unfortunately, mothers have had an inherent advantage over fathers in custody determinations pursuant to a divorce. In most custody decisions, physical custody of the child is given to one parent, while the other parent retains visitation rights and legal custody. Legal custody grants each parent with decision-making rights regarding a child's healthcare, education, safety and well-being. Since mothers have historically had an advantage when child custody is decided, that has left fathers with only visitation rights to their children. The laws proposed above would seek to end that scenario by ensuring that each parent has custody for at least 45 percent of the year, rather than one parent having physical custody the majority of the time. Any deviations from such an arrangement would require a judge to justify his decision and be answerable for it.

The determination of child custody can be difficult to make, but neither parent should be granted favoritism based on their gender. It is important for fathers in these situations to be aware of their rights and promote involvement with their child.

Source: WOWT 6 NBC, "Father's Rights Debate Taken Up By The State Legislature," Jan. 25, 2013

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