Colorado parents may be interested in a father’s recent fight to give divorced fathers more time with their children.
Following the court’s custody ruling in his divorce case, the dad had only limited access to his sons under the parenting plan. He contacted his state senator, who recommended he join a committee designed to research family law issues and suggest new laws. Since then, he has worked with legislators, judges and lawyers to reform his state’s child custody laws.
His efforts were rewarded when his state passed a law, decreeing that it is in the best interests of the child to have substantial and frequent time with both parents, unless there is evidence of drug use or domestic violence. Under another law championed by the man, courts must give both parents the maximum possible time with their child, and custody determinations based solely on the gender of either the parent or the child are prohibited.
Other states have passed similar laws, or are considering them. Not all efforts to update custody laws have been successful, however. Some still maintain that the best interests of the child do not always mandate equal time for both parents. In Minnesota, the governor vetoed a law that would have given the non-custodial parent at least 35 percent parenting time.
Courts used to award primary custody to mothers, with limited visitation for fathers. Research has shown, however, that children benefit from having a meaningful relationship with both parents. In Colorado, courts have a number of options when assigning parenting time. For example, a court may award alternating weeks with each parent, or award one parent every other weekend and one evening visit. When parents live in different communities, the court may award custody to one parent during the school year and one during the summer and certain holidays.
Despite recent advances, child custody remains a complicated and contentious issue in divorce. For example, parents should be mindful that the number of overnight visits will affect the calculations for child support payments. If at all possible both parents should try to agree on a parenting plan. Otherwise the court will impose one that, in many cases, neither parent likes.
Source: Tucson Citizen, “Arizona dad fights for rights of divorced fathers,” Alia Beard Rau, June 16, 2012