Dads still fight for equality in child custody cases

Child custody proceedings during a divorce can be one of the most stressful times in a father's life. Only 40 percent of states give parents equal time with their children. A new report shows that several states across the country give dads less than 25 percent of equal time with their children. Georgia weighed in at number 46, with 23.5 percent. Results also showed that 20 states were tied for the number one spot, winning 50 percent of equal parenting time in child custody cases.

Researchers surveyed to see which states gave dads the most time with their children. Before the survey, it was hard to compare custody schedules because they were often complex and detailed. Analysts studied the judicial standards and surveyed legal professionals across the country to find out what schedules were used most often.

Experts hope that once states compare their numbers to neighboring states, they will consider changing their custody laws. They agreed it was easy to see state-by-state differences once percentages were in place for each state. However, the only cases identified were those where both parents asked for custody, and neither had extenuating circumstances. Since the study was completed, 25 legislatures are now considering new laws that make shared parenting the default after divorce.

The law should continue to focus on the health and well-being of the child, not just fairness to parents. Many courts believe both parents can provide valuable qualities in the development of their children. Georgia residents with questions about child custody or shared custody should consult with an attorney who will help protect thier rights while focusing on what is in the best interest of the child.

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