Fathers have equal rights to child custody
Fathers in Missouri may be concerned about their future relationship with their children if they are going through a divorce. Many dads worry that family courts will be biased against them and in favor of the child’s mother even though they are loving, active participants in family life. Historically, child-raising was seen as the natural province of mothers, and fathers were expected to be more distant. Many of these views date back to a time when two-income households were far less common. There was a general expectation that the mother would have primary custody of the children while the father would pay child support and visit the children from time to time.
However, all of this has changed. Fathers not only regularly receive joint custody but also primary residential custody of their children. Many family courts are eager to foster the involvement of the father in a child’s life, especially as multiple studies have proven that children have better outcomes and happier lives when both parents are involved in their development. Of course, there are still some biases to be found from time to time. Some judges may still believe that fathers are less likely to be “natural” caregivers than mothers, but this approach conflicts with state law and public policy.
Fathers can take action to help achieve a positive outcome in their custody cases. Whenever possible, they can benefit from keeping clear, positive communication intact with the mother of the children and spending a lot of time with their kids. If the parents can negotiate a parenting plan, this is also a positive sign.
There are many factors taken into account when evaluating child custody with the interests of the child at the center. Fathers who want to protect their parent-child relationship may consult with a family law attorney about their next steps.