Written By Attorney Douglas Gardner
East Valley Divorce Attorney Discusses Father’s Rights in Divorce Cases
Arizona has moved forward in terms of Father’s rights recently, which changes how cases should be handled whether you are the Mother or the Father.
In the 1970s and 1980s, a typical custody order would have the children reside with the Mother, and Father would see the children on alternating weekends and two weeks during the summer. As we moved into the 1990s and the 2000s, Father’s rights and Father’s role in raising children received significant attention from mental health professionals, which trickled its way into state laws and into the courtroom practices of judges. Weekday parenting time to the Father became more common, and alternating holidays, equal sharing of summer and Christmas school recess became more common.
Over just the last two years, the Courts have moved beyond this, to much more often awarding equal parenting time when the parent’s live close enough to allow the children stability in school while residing with both parents.
Moving to equal parenting time has its pros and cons. Many children feel like they live at neither house, but “camp” at both houses and move back and forth. Other children enjoy the significant relationship with both parents being much more involved. Equal time parenting plans allow both parents to have their own time as well as parenting time, and can balance the various difficulties in life including jobs and other responsibilities. However, Equal time for many mother’s necessarily includes reduced parenting time.
One difficulty often ran into is societal expectations. While these changes are great for Father’s that want to be more involved, many mother’s feel that the Court has punished them because they are familiar with other families in which the Mother was named the primary parent, and they feel that they are as good or better of a parent than this other parent. Such comparisons fail to account for the dramatic changes in the law over just the past few years.
While many Father’s enjoy this additional time with their children, some Father’s realize that having the children 50% of the time causes them to be away from work more of the time, as schooling, sick children, and other issues are now falling on their parenting time 50% of the time.
Equal parenting time is not appropriate in all cases. I still see many cases in which Father or Mother can provide a better life style, stability, safe environment, and other factors and in which we can persuade the Court to award my client’s more than 50%/50% custody. However, proving that such is the case requires a solid case and a well prepared trial plan.
If you are experiencing legal issues involving custody or other difficult issues, whether as part of a divorce, after the divorce has already been entered, or a custody battle in which the parents were never married, you should have experienced legal counsel on your side. Please call 480-733-6800 and ask to speak with attorney Douglas C. Gardner.