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Fathers' rights focus: Do the courts really lean toward women?

The question that persists for many commentators on family law continues to be this: Are the courts sufficiently fair to fathers or not?

That inquiry is posed all the time in family law, with fathers’ rights advocates routinely charging that men are shortchanged by judges in a variety of matters. At the top of the list are child custody-related issues, but other matters loom large as well, such as alimony payouts and child support orders.

Interestingly, it is not just men in Arkansas and other states across the country who cite to a general judicial slant in favor of female litigants in family law matters. Many women, too, believe that courts are generally predisposed toward ruling in favor of females, especially mothers.

“There’s a real perception -- even women share it -- that courts are unfair to fathers,” says one commentators on child custody.

He and others dispute the notion, though, saying that, while it was abundantly clear that such was this case in bygone decades, court perceptions toward fathers in custody and other family-related matters have changed appreciably in recent years.

One writer on the subject refers to a “great revolution in family court” that has occurred over the past couple generations. Namely, that is growing judicial acceptance of the idea that an active and ongoing presence of both parents in a child’s life is generally an optimal outcome for all family members, even after a divorce.

Statistics indicate that, while males are becoming progressively more involved in their children’s lives following marital dissolution, shared parental custody still does not occur in a majority of cases.

And, thus, the arguments of fathers’ rights advocates will continue. The debate goes on.

Source: Slate Magazine, “Dad’s day in court,” Hanna Rosin, May 13, 2014

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