In the fight for equal rights custody, more law firms are championing men’s rights and focusing on the many challenges dads face during divorce. State legislatures are rethinking child custody laws, too, amid new scientific research that shows dads play an important role in a child’s emotional and physical well-being.
As more men become increasingly empowered in their role as a father, we’re seeing a lot of cases where men are unwilling to accept the status quo: child-support and visitation arrangements. The fathers of today are doing all that they can to stay relevant in their children’s lives.
Take Jeff Robinson, an IT manager living in Allen, Texas. Jeff hired a men’s family law firm when his marriage of 27 years fell apart. The couple’s two daughters are both adults, but their youngest son was still a minor.
Robinson said his greatest fear was that he would be kicked out of his home, and that his wife was going to restrict visitation. Many fathers can relate to Jeff’s story, and feel that in a world where there are equal rights in the workplace, there should also be equal rights at home – and that includes raising the children.
Child custody laws vary greatly throughout the U.S., which can make custody and support arrangements tricky. What one state considers “shared custody” may mean something completely different in another state. Some states have changed the terminology used in their statues, using the language “legal decision-making” and “parenting time” instead.
While there are many states that have taken steps towards being gender-neutral when it comes to child custody and support issues, there has yet to be state that is “father-friendly.”
With a rise in the number of fathers seeking equal rights custody, experts are left wondering what caused such a shift in desired parental rights. One explanation is that many of the fathers who are fighting to be a part of their children’s lives were the children of divorce themselves. They’ve lived through the typical arrangement where the mother gets full custody, and the father gets visitation. These fathers may want a different experience for their children than what they had.
But some attorneys fear that firms who focus on men’s rights may turn custody cases into a gender war, rather than focusing on what’s best for the child. While men do face an uphill battle, they argue that it’s more important to focus on parenting when presenting a case to the judge or negotiating a settlement than to focus on gender.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm specializing in family law and estates. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. Brad has a special expertise in working with child custody.You can read more on this topic by visiting our Child Custody & Support blog. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.