Father's Child Custody Rights

By Staff Writer

Father's child custody rights have gained importance over the last ten years. In 1995, 15% of fathers had custody over their children, triple the number in 1970. Now that figure has doubled again, so that more fathers are raising children on their own than ever before.

Prior to the 1800's, children were automatically considered to be part of the father's line, and stayed with the father in the unlikely event that the marriage ended. In the mid-1900's, the courts swung over to the mother's point of view, and advocated what was known as the "tender years doctrine". This meant that the courts viewed women as their children's primary caregiver, and assumed that the children were better off living with her, no matter what.

Father's Child Custody Rights in Modern America
It wasn't until the 1960's that courts began to acknowledge the right of fathers as equally capable of raising their children. Still, courts favor the mother, but shared custody arrangements are very much the norm. There are 14 states in which there is a mandate to facilitate shared parenting whenever possible, including California, Florida and Texas.

The father's rights movement and men's parenting groups have been forceful in changing the court's perception of child custody agreements. Father's child custody rights now are an accepted part of the divorce and custody settlement. If you're interested in dad's rights, check out the website www.fathers-rights.com, or look at the newsletter "Full-Time Dads" at www.slowlane.com.