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Parenting time ongoing issue for fathers

Time spent with children is precious, but some parents still are not getting enough of it. Unlike past generations, Massachusetts fathers now take on far more involved roles with their children, but many custody arrangements do not reflect this shift in society. Now perhaps more than ever, fathers are complaining that they are not allocated enough parenting time in their child custody agreements.

Approximately 25 percent of all fathers live in a different household than at least one of their children, with 17 percent living separately from all of their children. This applies to both divorced fathers and those who were never married. However, prior marriage is not a requirement for child custody, and parents who never tied the knot can still establish a custody arrangement.

In many cases, shared custody — also referred to as joint custody — is beneficial to everyone involved. Children get to retain easy and roughly equal access to both parents, which has emotional benefits. And yet, nationwide fathers receive only about 35 percent of all parenting time in custody agreements. Contentious divorces often result in even less parenting time for fathers regardless of their level of involvement.

Historically, giving mothers primary custody might have made sense, but this is no longer the case. Massachusetts fathers often take great pride in their parental involvement, and in nationwide surveys they often report feeling as if they do not have enough parenting time. Although joint child custody might not be appropriate for every family, it can be a sensible solution for many divorcing parents.

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