The role of fatherhood looks much different than it did even just 10 years ago. Like other men, you are probably more involved in your children's lives than your own father might have been. While this certainly benefits both you and your children, not all family law courts recognize the value in your parental relationship. Even if you are an outstanding and involved father, you could still end up with less parenting time in your child custody agreement.
This is an extremely frustrating situation in which to be. You know that you are a competent father and that being actively involved is in your child's best interest. Unfortunately, 53% of adults in America still think that women are better at caring for kids, however. Only 1% believe that fathers could do a better job.
With whom are children living?
More than 25% of children in America are not living with their fathers for any length of time. This is because of a number of factors, including divorce. However, it is not all bad news. Around 2 million men are currently stay-at-home dads, taking on roles that mothers traditionally took on. Considering that Father's Day was not a permanent holiday until 1972, men are taking their roles as fathers more seriously than ever.
Still, these stay-at-home dads represent a small percentage of all fathers. This means that, while change might be happening, it is slow. Family law judges are also often slow to catch up to these significant societal changes.
Judges favor mothers in child custody
Joint physical custody is more popular than ever. This form of custody involves children spending roughly equal amounts of time with both parents. Although you may think that you will get the presumption of joint child custody during your divorce, there is a strong likelihood that this will not happen.
Judges still strongly favor mothers when it comes to child custody. Although it is possible for you to negotiate your own custody agreement during mediation, you may still struggle to get the parenting time that you and your child both need. Like other men, you may worry about false domestic violence allegations if you head to court over custody matters. This fear leads some fathers to take a step back and concede to whatever parenting time they are able to get.
You can still be an active father after divorce
Children who have fathers in their lives do better across a number of different areas. For example, children whose fathers are around are more likely to graduate high school, four times less likely to be poor and much less likely to commit suicide. Additionally, an astounding 90% of runaway and homeless children come from homes without involved fathers. These statistics show just how important it is for you to be involved in your children's lives.
You do not have to settle for a child custody arrangement that leaves you with little parenting time and completely ignores your children's best interests. If you are unable to reach an agreeable custody agreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it may be necessary to move toward family law court. This can be an overwhelming step, but many Arizona fathers find that working alongside experienced attorneys can make this process easier.