Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Are fathers' claims of biased child custody decisions justified?

While many fathers have accused family courts of being biased, Massachusetts residents may disagree. However, recent media reports have created a new awareness of this perception about the role of fathers when it comes to child custody. Modern parents often want to play equal parts in the lives of their children.

The tradition of family courts to favor mothers in child custody cases, especially during a child’s tender years, started changing as far back as the 1970s. The perspective shifted away from the general understanding of a breadwinning father and a stay-at-home mother toward gender neutrality where each parent has a career and parenting time is shared. Nevertheless, more mothers than fathers are still awarded sole child custody.

Many family courts are shifting focus and aiming toward giving parents the opportunity to work out a parenting plan that suits them both, along with the best interests of the children. However, the same cannot be said in cases where the parents of a child were never married. Those fathers seem to have a hard time getting custody, unless they are financially strong enough to finance a legal battle.

Massachusetts fathers who are in the midst of a child custody dispute may find comfort knowing that help is available. They have the right to have their paternal rights protected. Unless the family court deems one parent unfit to take care of their children, both parents may have the opportunity to play equal parts in the lives of their children. If creating a parenting plan proves to be a problem, alternative dispute resolution options like mediation may help guide couples to amicable agreements that will benefit all parties.

Source: vnews.com, "Vigilante Fathers Are Challenging Mothers` Rights in Court", Hanna Rosin, May 16, 2014

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