Advocating For Equal Shared Parenting
Many newly divorced, separated or even never-married fathers are surprised to discover that in Family Court the scales of justice are rarely balanced. In fact, according to the most recent US Census, mothers are granted sole or primary custody of a couple’s children 83% of the time.
The Fathers’ Rights Movement is a group of men and women who are committed to helping loving fathers enjoy their full rights and responsibilities, as well as helping children have their fathers in their lives. We strongly support and advocate the rebuttable presumption of 50/50 equal shared parenting. It is easy to blame ex-wives for the bias against fathers. The problems, however, run far deeper and are in many ways societal.
Before the 1970’s, sole child custody was almost universally — and automatically — granted to the mother, especially for young children still in what were called the “tender years.” A father’s contribution to his children’s lives was thought to be largely financial. In the United States, child custody battles were virtually unheard of. Mothers got the benefit of any doubt.
More recently, divorce laws in this country, and in most western nations, began to recognize fathers as equal parents and that financial responsibility was only one part of the contribution fathers make to their children. But old ideas die hard.
Enter The Fathers’ Right Movement. Our goal is to help fathers who want equal, shared parenting to understand their rights and to give these fathers the support and resources they need to successfully navigate the frustrations built into the family court and child custody systems.
50/50 Equal Shared Parenting Reform
Our movement is not about impinging on anybody else’s rights. Children need both parents. In fact, a recent summary of 40 studies on outcomes for children of shared physical custody found that equal, shared parenting is most beneficial for the children. The studies found that, overall, the children in shared parenting families had better outcomes on measures of emotional, behavioral, and psychological well-being, as well as better physical health and better relationships with their fathers and their mothers. Beyond TFRM simply doing what’s right for fathers, this research shows we are also promoting what’s best for children.
Parenting rights should not be a zero-sum concept. A mother’s rights need not be threatened when a father’s rights are recognized. Ironically, many single mothers are discovering that equal, 50/50 shared parenting with fathers gives them more time for their own careers, increases their earning power, and makes them happier, prouder moms. Maybe that’s why many women, including the second wives of divorced fathers and those who were alienated from their fathers as children, have seen the wisdom of this view and have joined our mission to educate the public, the courts, and the entire legal community about the essential role fathers play in their children’s lives.
To reiterate, The Fathers’ Rights Movement is all about doing what is best for the children. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one out of three children in America live in homes that are absent their biological father. As you’ve seen earlier, research findings show that compared to their two-parent peers, children in father-absent homes are more likely to experience a broad menu of life-limiting outcomes.
Of course, this impacts more than these millions of children. The extended societal consequences are profound and devastating. While many single moms are correctly portrayed heroically, a father in a child’s life also provides a unique and irreplaceable influence. It is our goal to make sure that as many children as possible benefit from a father’s loving presence.
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To those fathers enduring family court and custody battles, we say, “You are not alone.” And to anyone sympathetic to our efforts, we say, “Welcome.”. Biases that excessively burden fathers won’t correct themselves. The goal of rebuttable presumed 50/50 parenting won’t become a reality on its own. We need your support and your voice.