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posted in Child Custody

on Wednesday, June 27, 2012.

A father of two sons, 8 and 10, has been seeking changes to his state’s legislation since 2010. He no longer wants to be forced by law to spend such little time with his children. The man gets every other weekend and a few weeks in the summer, like so many divorced fathers in Connecticut and throughout the country.

Instead of allowing it to remain this way, he has spent the past few years meeting, speaking and working with university researchers, lawyers, judges, lawmakers and activists to change the laws surrounding physical custody.

One success he has already achieved is a change in his state’s law that says it is in the best interest of the child to have substantial and meaningful parenting time with both parents on a continuing basis, unless there is evidence of substance abuse or domestic violence. Another law passed this year will require courts to choose a parenting plan that maximizes the time that both parents get with their children. The law also forbids courts from using the gender of the child as a bias in favor of one parent over the other. This legislation is set to take effect in January.

While these changes are in Arizona, they can be seen as an example for other states such as Connecticut to follow. If these changes are beneficial, other states may begin adopting similar legislative modifications.

According to modern research, these changes will likely be helpful to the development of the child. In the past, mothers have been seen as the important caregiver. But this does not mean that the role of engagement and play that fathers often provide is not necessary to a child’s development.

One researcher found that biology is not as important as who the child attaches to and considers a parent. By removing such an individual from the life of a child, that child may experience a large amount of stress, which could result in the degradation of development and physical health.

Source: 12 News, “Arizona dad fights for rights of divorced fathers,” Alia Beard Rau, June 16, 2012

Tags: child custody, divorce

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