Over matters of child custody, it is well known that mothers traditionally get the kids. However, in recent times, more and more fathers have been expressing their desire to enjoy equal custody rights as their ex-wives. A movement to this end seems to be working, as USA Today correspondent Sharon Jayson reports that a number of states are considering revising child custody laws.
In addition to the increasing clamors from fathers, the proposed changes are in light of recent research showing that father-children relationships are just as important, physically and emotionally, as mother-children ones.
This development has given rise to law firms that focus on fathers' rights in a divorce case. Jayson reports:
"Law firms that champion men's rights — and particularly those of fathers — are a growing breed across the USA, marketing themselves to men who are increasingly empowered in their role as dads."
Does the law's preference for mothers have basis in state, if not federal, laws, or is this a case of gender bias? Here's a look into New Hampshire's child custody statutes.
Revised Statutes Annotated (RSA) 461-A
Parental rights and responsibilities are detailed under RSA 461-A. Already, the statutes don't indicate terms like "father" and "mother." Instead, they refer to both collectively as parents. This dispels the fact that the law is biased in favor of mothers, at least not in New Hampshire.
In child custody cases, the "best interest" of the child is always upheld, which includes the relationship shared between parent and child (RSA 461-A, Section 6a) and ability to provide the latter’s basic needs (RSA 461-A, Section 6b). Thus, the effect of divorce on fathers' rights still depends on a number of factors, including the father’s capability to provide the child with material and emotional support.
A parent’s occupation can weigh in on child custody cases. If both parents are working full time, and both can provide care for the children in their absence, then their chances of getting custody would be more or less equal. In cases such as these, other factors, such as a parent’s ability to provide future needs, or the effects on the child of any needed change in environment, can determine who eventually gets custodial rights.
Fathers who wish to have custody of their children should therefore fight for this right. With the help of law firms like Upton & Hatfield, which offer support to fathers in child custody cases, fathers have as much chances as mothers in getting favored by the courts.