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Fathers want equal treatment in Rhode Island custody disputes

In Kent, Rhode Island, and other parts of the state, many fathers wish to be the primary custodian of their children and to play a significant role in raising their children. However, the courts in Rhode Island and other states have traditionally favored mothers as primary custodians. Now, fathers in the state and elsewhere are expressing their wishes to be treated equally in child custody battles, which can be seen in many courts across Rhode Island.

According to the head of the National Parents Organization, formerly known as Fathers and Families, research proves that children who see both parents tend to fare better, both emotionally and academically. He also said that by not awarding joint custody, courts are doing more harm than good. However, joint custody should only be awarded if both parents are emotionally and mentally sound and there is no history of domestic violence.

Over the past few years, lawmakers in several states have passed family law amendments to treat fathers in the same manner as they treat mothers in matters of child custody. But even then, there are a significant number of states where such motions have been vetoed or are currently under review by various task forces. Opponents argue that fifty-fifty parenting plans can be a logistical nightmare if the parents live in different cities or towns or if children have a large number of after-school activities.

In reality, many child custody arrangements in Rhode Island are finalized outside the court when couples headed for divorce mutually agree to joint custody. But when disputes arise, a court must handle every case differently depending on the circumstances. It is then that a court's inclination to favor the mother becomes evident.

For any father in Rhode Island who is in a similar situation, consulting a lawyer may be the best option. With the right legal representation and the changing outlook of courts in recent years, it is now possible for a responsible father to gain child custody and maintain that strong relationship with his child.

Source: Rhode Island Public Radio, "Push To Change Custody Laws: What's Best For Kids?" Jennifer Ludden, Feb. 26, 2014

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