Involved fathers may seek more child custody rights

A newly released research project conducted by Pew Research looks at the ways that fatherhood has changed over the last 50 years. The findings suggest that today's dads are far more involved in childrearing duties than fathers were in decades past. In fact, on average, in 2011 a father typically spent seven hours each week caring for their children, while mothers spent 14. In 1965, fathers only cared for their kids around 2 and a half hours per week, with mothers covering around 10 hours of care. Not only are Colorado dads taking on more responsibilities toward their children, many are also seeking broader child custody rights in the event of a divorce.

When facing a child custody battle, fathers must make every effort to demonstrate to the court their level of involvement within the lives of their kids. Family court judges are tasked with making determinations that serve the best interests of the child or children involved in a proceeding. In most cases, decisions are made that preserve the existing relationships that children have with their parents. In cases in which a father can prove that he is an active participant in the lives of his kids, it is easier to argue for equal or shared custody rights.

In an ideal setting, both parents work together to provide for their child's needs, both physical and emotional. Each parent compliments the role that the other plays, and is supportive of their partner's relationship with each child. When a marriage ends in divorce, supporting the needs of the children should take center stage, although it can be difficult to collaborate with one's soon-to-be ex throughout the divorce process. In many cases, parents who were able to share parenting responsibilities throughout their marriage can work out a parenting solution that works after they are divorced.

In other cases, fathers feel marginalized by the divorce process and the child custody negotiations. Despite research such as the recent Pew study, fathers are still at risk of receiving restricted access to their children as a result of a divorce. For those who wish to remain closely connected to their kids, and who can demonstrate a history of involved parenting, it is possible to convince a Colorado court to award shared or joint child custody.

Source: CNN, "Modern fathers face new expectations," Alicia W. Stewart, June 16, 2013

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