Prosecutorial discretion is something well understood by those who practice criminal law in Arkansas. The concept is not limited to the criminal side of the judicial system, however. All government agencies exercise a certain amount of discretion about what cases to pursue.
Even though every state in the country has adopted a standard for courts to make child custody determinations based on the best interests of the child, that standard isn’t always met. Under the standard, the idea of shared and balanced parenting time would seem to be presumed, but very often, social bias bends in favor of mothers, requiring a fight for fathers’ rights.
Making that fight more important is the reality that sometimes child protection officials who bear the responsibility of enforcing child custody orders don’t investigate reported violations. Sometimes that inaction results in tragedy, as in the case of the death of a young girl in Michigan.
Supporters of fathers’ rights suggest that her story highlights how gender bias resulted in the girl being placed with her mentally unstable mother rather than her more fit father. Authorities allegedly took no action despite numerous custody order violations, including a parental abduction by the mother. Even when teachers and neighbors raised concerns with child protective services, authorities chose not to follow up. The child died in her mother’s care at age 10.
Most experts would agree that the preponderance of evidence is that shared parenting and determinations that support fathers maintaining relationships with their children are for the best. Sometimes, though, individual fathers’ rights are overlooked and need to be fought for.
To learn more about our firm’s experience and commitment in this area, visit our website page dedicated to this issue.