Many Pennsylvania dads may fear becoming separated or alienated from their children or losing custody and access after a divorce. Increasingly, however, courts and family professionals are emphasizing the importance of shared parenting and joint custody to protect the best interests of the child.
In situations where there is no domestic violence or drug abuse and both parents are fit, shared parenting, in which both parents enjoy equal time and responsibility for their children, is the growing model across the United States and internationally. While family courts have tended to award sole physical custody to mothers, when fathers fight for it they have a strong record of success.
Many studies have shown that shared parenting is beneficial to children’s physical and mental health, greatly reducing their feelings of stress. Child development experts have emphasized that shared parenting is a model that increases the safety, security and resources of children throughout their lives.
This is reflected more and more in the courtroom as well as in state legislatures. Many states have had legislation proposed to confirm shared parenting as the default preference in family court, and a few have enacted it. Shared parenting can also help lead to more amicable divorces as each parent recognizes that they must work together in a co-parenting arrangement for their children.
Fathers who are involved in a divorce can protect their rights to custody over their children and full involvement in their children’s lives over the years. A family law attorney can help them to ensure that they receive shared custody with full and equal involvement. This can be done either through the negotiation of a parenting agreement or, if that is not possible, by advocating for their interests in front of a judge.