The State of Massachusetts is paving the way for fathers to exercise more rights when it comes to divorce and the relationship with their children. In an attempt to increase paternal presence for children, Massachusetts is overhauling their child custody laws in a move which would encourage judges overseeing divorces in which minor children are involved to assign no less than one-third of parenting time to each parent. The law has special provisions in place to protect children from unfit parents or domestic violence situations.
Could California Be Next?
In today’s society, men have started to speak up for their rights as fathers when it comes to the custody and caregiving of their children. Many people believe that co-parenting or shared parenting is the common method of assigning custody, but the reality is very different than this perception. Shared parenting only occurs in approximately 15 percent of divorce cases. Many fathers are still held to every-other-weekend visitation schedules with longer allowances for summer vacation and holidays.
The American Psychological Association conducted research which showed that children thrived and fared better in school when the parents agreed to shared parenting and children were given ample access to both parents. While children are resilient individuals, their need for both parents is a natural desire and should be encouraged by the courts. The common every-other-weekend visitation is a poor substitute for the quality time and the relationship that can be established by adequate exposure to each parent. It may seem unfair to make a child live in two different homes and it will certainly be challenging and require patience, but when it is done right it can be ideal for both parties involved.
Added benefits for each parent include the ability to schedule working hours and social activities which coincide with the other parent’s time, allowing the former partners the ability to work extra hours, recharge their personal batteries, spend quality time with friends or engage in dating and traveling. These extra benefits have all of the positive effect of making the parents more relaxed during their time with the children rather than stressed, creating a more serene home life for all involved.
Co-parenting is an option that should not be overlooked unless there is a very good reason to limit one parent’s contact with the children. The Men’s Legal Center is ready to help you with custody issues and help you develop a plan that not only puts the needs of the children above all else, but also helps you maintain your vital relationship with your children.