Custody disputes often arise in cases of divorce as well as with unmarried couples who have children together. In California, some custody cases are settled with one parent receiving sole custody of the children and the other parent getting visitation rights, typically on weekends. For many fathers who want to be involved in the upbringing of their children, many child-custody arrangements seem unfair, with the woman typically getting the custodial role and the father being sidelined with visitation rights.
However, as one observer noted, across the country, courts are increasingly giving both parents equal chances to have child custody, believing in fairness for both parties. Although many family law judges might still believe mothers are more fit to raise their children, the fact is that many fathers are now getting custody.
A 1996 to 2007 study of Wisconsin cases, for example, found that sole custody for mothers declined by almost 15 percentage points (60.4 to 45.7 percent) and cases of equal shared custody nearly doubled (15.8 to 30.5 percent). Furthermore, one association of matrimonial attorneys has noted increasing numbers of mothers being ordered to pay child support.
For fathers who want shared custody, the first question is, do they really want to be more involved with their kids or do they just want to do battle with the mothers of their children?
That said, fathers of children born to unmarried parents still have a much harder time getting custody or visitation.
Child-custody issues do not necessarily have to end through litigation. In some cases, both parents can come up with an agreement that will be beneficial for them as well as the children involved. Parents can resolve the issues through peaceful talks and negotiation until they reach a fair agreement. They can also seek legal assistance to ensure that the issue is settled according to the applicable laws.
Source: Slate.com, "Dad's day in court," Hanna Rosin, May 13, 2014