In the past, it was generally expected that when Pennsylvania parents decided to pursue a divorce, children would be relegated to the custody of the mother. With the exception of certain situations, as in where the mother was deemed unfit, this was the cultural norm. According to a recent report, more fathers are fighting to change the tide of child custody arrangements that were commonplace in the past.
According to the report, men are insisting that they have their positions as parents recognized in family courts. Traditionally, family law rewarded custody to the mother simply because, in the past, it was mothers who were the primary caregiver and many were stay-at-home moms. The shift in the dynamics of child-rearing has reportedly led to an emphasis on the rights of fathers.
Reportedly, not everyone is in agreement with the increased focus being placed on the rights of fathers. Some say that child custody is about the parenting aspect rather than the gender of the parent. Since custody issues can sometimes be contentious, focusing on the gender of the parent — rather than the best interest of the child — can create additional conflict in what is likely to already be a stressful situation. Any resolution determined by the court should concentrate on the parental issues when determining custody rights.
It is important that Pennsylvania parents understand that not every child custody case is the same. Also, while fathers are stepping in to help more with child-rearing, the purpose of child custody is to determine what is the best situation for the health and well-being of the child. Ensuring that a child is in the best possible custodial placement is the responsibility of those in family courts and can be achieved through many channels including mediation.
Source: Detroit Free Press, “More dads demand equal custody rights, reject child-support arrangements of yesterday”, Sharon Jayson, June 14, 2014