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Why fathers need to assert their rights

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2022 | Family Law

The custody process is challenging and difficult for everyone, including the children involved. New York custody courts are required to use a best interest of the child standard when making custody decisions and base their decisions on several factors, starting with an assumption that shared custody is in a child’s best interest.

Custody was traditionally granted to mothers

Although these laws reflect the positive strides society and has made in terms of equal custody for both parents, they are still relatively recent. 30 to 40 years ago, courts routinely granted sole custody to mothers, believing that mothers were naturally the best caregivers for children. As a result, many fathers lost out on important bonding time with their children.

Thankfully, times have changed. However, even with the new standards, many fathers often find themselves having to fight harder for their right to custody time. Courts may find a mother’s testimony or evidence more credible than a fathers without adequate justification or apply the custody factors in a more favorable light to a mother.

Some alarming facts

This is unfortunate, because numerous statistics show that children who grow up without a father face more difficulties and challenges. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that approximately 24 million children live in a household without a father. This includes a biological father, stepfather or adoptive father.

Additionally, children growing up in homes without a father are more likely to:

  • Abuse drugs and alcohol
  • Commit a crime
  • Spend time in prison

Children in fatherless households are also 2 times more likely to drop out of school, 4 times more likely to live in poverty and 7 times more likely to become pregnant in their teens.

These situations are even more tragic when they involve fathers who wanted and tried to be a part of their children’s lives and were routinely denied appropriate custody time by a court. Fathers who fight for time with their children, only to be repeatedly denied, may decide to give up trying.

There are custody attorneys out there who understand the importance of maximizing the time children spend with both a mother and a father. They can help fathers protect and assert their legal rights and represent their interests in court.