When a relationship ends, it is often assumed that the mother will be the one to retain physical custody of the children. However, recently, more fathers are fighting to have equal parenting time with their children. Fathers in Maryland — and elsewhere — may hope to swing the tide from mostly maternal care to a more equitable distribution of custody.
The 35-year-old movie, “Kramer VS Kramer” turned a spotlight on the struggles facing a father who wants to be awarded custody of a child. In that movie, the mother abandoned both husband and son in a quest to find herself. In spite of the fact that she had walked away, the movie judge was still inclined to award custody to the now-present mother over the father who had been there in her absence. There are many real-life fathers who are also fulfilling the role of nurturer while still working to overcome the perceived bias in favor of mothers.
In recent years, fathers have become more involved in parenting tasks, but often, the courts still tend to favor mothers in custody decisions. One social worker has indicated that children who are denied the physical presence of their fathers are more apt to experience learning and behavior problems. They are also more inclined to develop poor self-esteem based on assumptions that the absence of a father is a reflection of their own unworthiness.
Some states have made changes to the way they award custody, with fathers being awarded more equal parenting time in some cases. However, fathers who are fighting for either sole or shared custody may still have a hard road ahead of them. Maryland families who find themselves embroiled in a difficult custody battle or are struggling in other family-related issues may benefit from the guidance provided by neutral resources who can offer assistance in finding the best resolution for their particular needs.
Source: 19actionnews.com, “Deadbeat Moms: Do courts need to change the way they handle custody cases?”, Danielle Serino, Nov. 19, 2014