When parents go through a divorce, one of the most complicated and emotionally challenging issues to work through is child custody. Sometimes, parents are not able to resolve this issue on their own, and as a result, they have to rely on the court to make the final call regarding their custody schedule. Unfortunately, family courts sometimes still give preference to the mother over the father.
Children benefit when allowed to have strong relationships with both parents after divorce. Despite the clear evidence that they need access to both parents, there are still some who think it’s best to allow the mother to have primary custody. As a result, some New Jersey fathers still have to fight for their right to have access to their kids and maintain a strong role in their lives.
The role of the father and mother
There is a misconception that mothers are innately better parents than fathers, especially when the kids are young. Not only is this not true, it can be harmful to the children. Consider the following facts about the roles of fathers and the importance their presence has in the lives of their children:
- When parents are together, fathers often help with feeding, changing, bathing and bedtime routines for babies and toddlers. There is no reason to assume they cannot continue this if the parents are no longer together.
- There is evidence that children who have time and receive care from both parents are more independent and emotionally healthy.
- Shared parenting is often a beneficial custody choice for divorced families because it allows for equitable parenting time, including overnight stays, for both parents.
If you are a father, you may expect that the court will consider your rights fairly when making a custody decision. This may not be the case, and you would be wise to be prepared to fight for parental rights and the ability to remain a prominent presence in the lives of your kids.
A fair custody order
It can be beneficial when parents are able to work through custody issues on their own outside of the court. Whether you are negotiating a settlement or going to court, it is prudent to keep your eyes on the future. What you want now may not make sense long-term, but this may require that you set aside your temporary emotions in order to pursue what is in the best interests of your children for the duration.