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Today's divorced fathers insist on equal parenting rights

In the past it was often assumed that mothers were in a better position to care for their children than fathers. As a result, mothers were far more likely than fathers to be granted custody of their children in divorce cases.

In recent decades, however, those assumptions have begun to give way to a broader recognition of the importance of having both parents fully involved in a child’s life. This shift is reflected both in the changing laws and policies affecting child custody decisions as well as in men’s attitudes toward parenting after divorce.

Many divorced fathers today are unwilling to accept the restrictive visitation schedules that were once the norm, insisting instead on equal parental rights. In Texas, lawmakers have attempted to create a standard that treats both parents equally, although it does not always yield equal results in practice.

One of the main issues that must be settled when parents divorce is where the children will live and how they will spend time with the non-custodial parent. Another issue is who has a right to be involved in important decisions about the child’s life, including decisions about medical care, education and religious instruction.

In any decision affecting parenting after divorce, the children’s best interests are always the court’s primary consideration. However, because this is obviously a highly subjective standard, unspoken biases and assumptions can sometimes put one parent at an unfair disadvantage. An attorney with a background in family law can be a powerful advocate for parents to help protect their rights when a marriage ends.

Source: USA Today, "More dads demand equal custody rights," Sharon Jayson, June 14, 2014

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