The dynamics of the family have changed drastically over the years. Now, more than ever, fathers in Texas and elsewhere are spending more time with their children. It is no longer the case that a mother stays home with the children while the father works. While this arrangement still exists in society, it is no longer the accepted norm. Because it is more common for both parents to work outside of the home, parents tend to spend the same amount of time and effort raising their children. Thus, when parents divorce, it has been asserted that parental responsibility during the marriage should be factored in when establishing child custody.
Fathers’ rights groups have grown in the recent years, and their main focus is to highlight the concerns with the traditional custody arrangements, which includes primary custody for mothers and every other weekend with fathers. These groups push for shared custody laws, and in some cases, success has been experienced in some states. Nonetheless, resistance is still met for these efforts.
While some states have passed measures, favoring shared custody; others have created task forces to further study the issue. Although the converging of gender roles ignite the push for equal rights for fathers during custody matters, the concern for making legislative changes to automatically allow for shared placement, it the fact that it creates a presumption that both parents are fit. There is still the factor of domestic abuse that needs to be taken into consideration, as well as drug and alcohol abuse. The push for shared parenting puts the focus on the rights and interests of the parents instead of on the children, where they should be.
Furthermore, there are a wide range of factors that could impact the feasibility of a shared parenting order. What if parents live far apart? What if parents have vastly different work schedules? Or, what if the children have a slew of after-school activities? If the presumption is shared custody and a 50-50 order is put in place, this could present major logistical problems. Additionally, such an arrangement means that parents will see each other more often, and in matters where parents do not get along or there is a high conflict matter, this could present major issues for both parents and children.
While custodial rights remain a focal point in divorces and separations of parents, it is important to understand that child custody orders should focus on the best interests of the children. Because these matters can get emotional, parents should understand what legal steps could be taken in a custody dispute. This not only protects his or her rights as a parent but also helps them in their efforts to protect their children and meet their best interests.