When people say “I do,” they feel like they’re saying it for life. Unfortunately, things don’t always go the way that you’d hoped. There are often times when two people just can’t seem to find a way to live together, and they may be better off without the conflict that their relationship creates in the family unit. Divorce is never an easy thing, nor does it always make things better, but many fathers feel like the courts tend to favor the mother’s rights instead of their own. In Missouri, there is a push to make time spent with children more equitable to the rights of the father.
In many divorce cases, it’s assumed that the mother should have custody. Time for the father to spend with his children is typically given out according to weekends and holidays. Many fathers’ rights groups have been trying to tackle the inequities that exist in the courts, and in divorce agreements, to give fathers the time they want with their children.
Courts have a tendency to assume that women, by nature, provide a more nurturing atmosphere. When this is taken for granted as fact, women are typically given the majority of the time, even if there is nothing wrong with the time spent with dads. A Naperville divorce attorney maintains that there doesn’t need to be any negative testimony regarding the father. Rather, time with the children is assigned on the basis of preconceived notions about gender and parenting, regardless of what the real nature of parenting in the individual household may be.
hen couples seek a divorce, most fathers are told from the start that their time with the kids will likely be limited to weekends and one day a week, unless there is some complicating factor with the mother. In 2009, Scott Myers, a father seeking a split from his wife, wanted more time with his children. He was told just to be happy with the time he was given and accept it. He wasn’t willing to, however. Feeling as if he had been cheated, he decided to take a stand against the status quo in divorce courts across Missouri.
On 28th Aug 2016, his challenge to the current laws and mindset surrounding parental time in divorce has made a real difference. A new law was enacted that helps fathers get more time with their children in divorce proceedings if they want it. The new “shared parenting” law has overhauled the way that time is given to both parents in divorce agreements. Instead of making assumptions about what is best for the child, the new law allows fathers more equitable time with their kids.
The new shared parenting laws make court-driven agreements regarding custody decisions more fair between the mother and the father. The House and the Senate both passed changes to the previous laws, altering key phrases in the statute to alter how child custody cases are handled. It disallows any judge from making decisions about who gets custody based on gender alone. It also makes it mandatory that judges give equal time to both parents, unless there is an issue that would prevent that from happening.
It used to be that judges were at their own discretion to allow significant time to both parents in the matter of custody. The language has changed to promote “equal” time with both parents. The new requirements are in response to studies that continue to show that well-adjusted kids need to spend quality time with both parents. The more cohesion a family can have outside of a traditional family unit, the better the children do in the long term.
In the past, it was widely believed that children did better when they weren’t “shifted around,” so judges saw stable homes as those where kids stay put in one residence as much as possible. What statistics are beginning to show, however, is that there is more benefit in creating close family bonds with both parents. Strong family relationships are more important than worrying about where a child calls “home”. Children can be just as well-adjusted in two places as they are in one. It isn’t about the location, it’s about the quality of the relationship that they have with their individual parents. The more time that they are given with both parents equally, the better they fare in most cases.
This trend is one that is spreading around the nation. Authorities are beginning to recognize that a two parent family need not mean that both parents reside in the same house, but that they have equal time raising their children. Time spent with both parents means happier, and more mentally healthy, children.