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The controversy about Father's Rights

The issue of Father's Rights has received a lot of attention lately, and the significance of its impact legally is beginning to be felt.
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    January 18, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The issue of Father's Rights has received a lot of attention lately, and the significance of its impact legally is beginning to be felt. From the outset it is important to understand the components of custody. In New Jersey, there are two aspects to custody: 1) The legal custody rights and 2) Physical custody rights.

Legal custody is the right of the parties to participate in the important decisions that affect a child's health, education and general welfare. The rights are usually shared equally, and the parents usually have "joint legal custody." Physical custody involves the physical location of the children. The physical custody rights can also be "joint", which would usually involve an equal timesharing schedule, or there is an arrangement where one parent is the "primary parent", and the other parent is the "alternate parent" or "parent of alternate residence."

The parents then are to have a parenting time schedule between them that serves the children's best interests. Long ago, New Jersey abandoned any "tender years" doctrine, whereby a Mother had any presumption in her favor for the custody arrangement. Under our law, Fathers and Mothers are to stand in equal standing, both recognized under our law to be as equally important for the development and rearing of children. The designation of the primary parent, and the parenting schedule, are both determined by considering various factors to determine what is in the best interest of the children.

Nevertheless, despite this intended equal handed treatment, in New Jersey, the most common custody arrangement would seem to benefit Moms. By far, the most common scenario is where the parties have joint legal custody, and the Mother is designated the Parent of Primary Residence and the Father the Parent of Alternate Residence. Fathers maintain that trend represents a clear bias in favor of women. They maintain that if the purpose of our law is to ensure that both parents are equally involved, then they should have as much time with the children, and should be designated the primary parent just as frequently.

Critics respond that the results that favor women are not a result of a gender bias, but rather reflect the fact the most common parenting arrangement during marriage is that the mothers have the primary responsibility for children. They argue that the Court maintains them as the primary parent in order to maintain consistency and minimize the trauma on the children, and what is best for the children is more important than the father's individual rights.

It's important for children to have access to both parents, says Focus on the Family. Dads naturally have different parenting styles than Moms, which usually balance themselves out and result in kids having more confidence, better grades and an improved ability to care for people and interact as adults.

When a child has the benefit of both caring parents, he or she has a better chance of learning how to handle stress and frustration, learning to empathize with others and how to have healthy relationships as adults. Additionally, kids with two loving parents are less likely to get in trouble at home and at school. As such, any custody arrangement should reflect that both parents are recognized as equally important, as the law is supposed to require. Then, when the delicate balance of involving both parents, and having structure and stability in the schedule is performed, this balance must be done in an even-handed and fair way that gives value to both parents.

Contacting an attorney

Many states are making great strides in formulating custody arrangements that reflect the modern notions of equal value of both parents, yet still having the structure that children need. It is perhaps the most challenging problem that is going to arise in your divorce. It can help to contact an experienced divorce attorney to discuss your rights.

Article provided by Steven P. Monaghan, L.L.C.
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