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Call for presidential candidates to discuss fatherhood, parenting

Many people in Little Rock have heard of Tony Dungy and some may even know of his commitment to strong fathering. Recently, the former NFL coach has been asking President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney to discus fatherhood and parenting in their campaign for president. Though it is certainly important for the president to take fathering seriously, there are still many obstacles that fathers must overcome in Arkansas.

Ask any father who has divorced his child's mother whether there is a bias in Arkansas family law, and he will likely say yes. There has certainly been improvement, but many Arkansas family courts still see mothers as better parents than fathers. This can lead to fathers receiving less parenting time, unequal levels of custody, or, in some cases, few if any parental rights.

Dungy is aware that there are an increasing number of children who are growing up without their fathers around. Citing the fact that nearly 24 million children do not live with their fathers, he believes that it is important that the candidates address and talk about many of the problems surrounding fatherhood in the United States.

If Dungy believes that most of the men who are not in their children's lives because of a lack of interest or commitment, he fails to recognize the serious obstacles that fathers may face in family law court. For many fathers, they are unable to be as involved in their children's lives because the children's mothers have used the court system to restrict access or completely prohibit fathers from seeing their children.

Because of these challenges, it is important that Arkansas fathers work closely with fathers' rights lawyer attorneys as they divorce their spouses.

Source: NBC News, "Tony Dungy asks Obama and Romney to talk about fatherhood," Ugonna Okpalaoka, Oct. 18, 2012

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