Whether there are children in the mix or not, divorce is usually a trying time. Divorcing fathers in Massachusetts and across the nation, though, face their own unique set of additional challenges when it comes to the issue of child custody. While the fight for equal parenting rights for fathers is gaining national attention, there is still a lot of work to be done.
Currently, data from the U.S. Census shows that over 24 million children spend most of their time in households without their fathers. This, according to a number of researchers, is taking a costly toll, with such "fatherlessness" contributing to issues including youth behavioral problems and incarceration, high school dropout rates, substance abuse and even suicide. Despite the alarming statistics, however, traditional custody agreements have always tended to automatically favor the mother when it comes to awarding primary physical custody.
A coalition called Americans for Shared Parenting is hoping to change that. One of the group's primary missions is to have laws passed across the country for equal parenting rights. They reassure, of course, that a forced 50/50 arrangement is not appropriate in all situations, nor do they support fathers – or mothers, for that matter – who voluntarily choose to abandon their children or do not wish to be a responsible and involved parental presence.
What Americans for Shared Parenting is fighting for, though, is a level playing field for any and all parents who wish to remain an active part of their children's lives after divorce. The group is hoping to work towards national legislation for something called Rebuttable Presumption of 50/50, meaning that, until facts are heard to the contrary, courts should hold an assumption of equal shared parenting time when deciding child custody. Until then, however, divorcing Massachusetts parents may benefit from the services of an attorney with a demonstrable track record in the successful navigation of family law and child custody cases.
Source: websterkirkwoodtimes.com, "Fighting For Men's Parenting Rights", Don Corrigan, July 21, 2017