Fathers have been at a disadvantage for decades in terms of the assignment of physical custody of children pursuant to divorce. Mothers have typically been perceived as better caretakers, but that perception is beginning to change and fathers are beginning to fight more prominently for their custody rights.
A recent article highlights the custody and visitation issues often experienced by divorced fathers. The article details a man's fight to get equal parenting time for both parents unless neglect, abandonment or abuse is present in the parent's relationship with their child. The custody practices in many states may lead to parental alienation, in which one's parent's relationship with their child is undermined by the other parent. Since the majority of non-custodial parents are men, this has a greater impact on fathers and negatively affects fathers' rights. Additionally, many psychologists feel that it is important for children to have both parents significantly involved in their life.
Historically, courts have had an inherent bias towards mothers in the assignment of physical custody of children. Although gender is not a factor in determining the appropriate custody arrangement, this has not always been the case in practice. There are many different custody arrangements that can be ordered pursuant to a divorce, including sole custody and joint custody. However, one of the most common arrangements is for one parent to have primary physical custody, with the other parent having visitation rights. As stated above, physical custody has often been granted to mothers, preventing fathers from spending an equal amount of time with their children.
There are numerous factors taken into consideration when determining the best child custody agreement including the health of the parents, the need for a stable home and any history of abuse by either parent. The gender of the parent is not one of these factors and states, including Georgia, are getting better at encouraging the involvement of both parents in the lives of their children.
Source: Inquisitr, "Father fights for rights for children to have equal access to both parents even after divorce," June 15, 2014